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Humane society sustained by loyal supporters

The Clayton County Humane Society got a new friend, "Sweet Pea," a Manchester terrier, after she was recently found locked inside a carrier, at the back of a subdivision.

"She is going to make it ... This is the kind of stuff that we do," said Clayton County Humane Society President Michelle Bryant-Hall.

Sweet Pea was cold, wet, and starving before she was discovered and taken to the Humane Society, Bryant-Hall explained. "She should weigh approximately 18-20 pounds ... She weighed 5-and-a-half," Bryant-Hall said.

She added that Sweet Pea has since gained two pounds. The funds donated volunteers and supporters is what feeds animals like Sweet Pea. "Once we commit, we do not euthanize," said Bryant-Hall.

The Clayton County Humane Society is a non-profit, 501c3 organization, which survives on donations and the support of the community. The shelter is located at 7810 North McDonough Street, in Jonesboro.

"We do not receive any government funding," the president said. "We are always looking for volunteers, support, and good adopters," said Bryant-Hall.

Terry Cole, executive director of the Clayton Center, has been a supporter and volunteer for the Humane Society for six years. "In the six years I have volunteered, I have only missed three weeks," said Cole.

"I like animals better than I do people," he said, with laughter.

Cole takes a dog home, from the shelter, and buys the dog a hamburger every weekend. "I love them. I felt convicted to volunteer," he said.

"I felt that I was being selfish, and wanted to step outside myself. It filled a hole."

Bryant-Hall explained that donations have been down for awhile, due to the economy. The organization is always in need of items, such as water hoses, bedding, and pet-friendly cleaning and laundry supplies, and any other pet-related items.

Everything from office supplies, to veterinarian bills, is maintained through donations, according to shelter officials. One of the greatest needs is dog and cat food, for the 100 animals, that the shelter houses, on average, at all times, said Bryant-Hall.

According to humane society officials, the shelter uses six, 40-pound bags of dog food a week, and 60 pounds of cat food, per week.

Chris Mitchell, director of the Clayton County Humane Society, loves working around the animals, and encourages the public to support the work of the organization.

"We can't do it without the community's support," said Mitchell, who is

a part of the team of two part-time employees, two full-time employees, and a group of volunteers, at the society's shelter.

Mona Wood, a staff member at the Humane Society, stressed that the shelter is a place of hope and happiness. "The [shelter] is a very happy place," she said. "The animals are well-cared-for, with the best we can afford to give them," Wood added.

She said that the staff and volunteers commit themselves to ensuring that the animals have a good life. "It is an endless sacrifice," Wood said.

"The dedication of the people [at Clayton County Humane Society] is what drew me to them."

The staff and volunteers are grateful for supporters of the shelter.

"We have people who send $5 or $10 every month, like clockwork," said Bryant-Hall. She added that the group can always use more volunteers and additional donations. Volunteers, she said, can help with cleaning, feeding, and "just showing the animals a little love."

According to Bryant-Hall, fund-raising plays a vital role in the group's survival and work. "We have a really good fund-raising committee," she said. "All their time is volunteered."

The organization holds two yard sales per year, which take place in May and October. "We cannot exist without donations," added Mona Wood.

For more information about adoptions, donations or volunteering, call (770) 471-9436.