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Local pets need food, friends, good home

Photo by Jeylin White: Clayton County Humane Society Vice President Robin Rawls holds a shy, “Steele,” who she says has been at the shelter for several years.

Photo by Jeylin White: Clayton County Humane Society Vice President Robin Rawls holds a shy, “Steele,” who she says has been at the shelter for several years.

Clayton County Humane Society Vice President Robin Rawls, who is also one of the organization’s dedicated volunteers, says the Jonesboro animal shelter is in desperate need of food donations.

“Food is a big deal for us,” said Rawls. “We need adult dog food and cat food, but we have very specific needs.”

Those specific needs are certain brands of dog, and cat, food. “For dogs, we prefer people donate Purina One, and for cats, Purina Cat Chow –– the original formula.”

The reason for the specific brands, she said, is an effort to keep the animals healthy and on a specific diet. “We want to make sure their stomachs don’t get upset,” she said.

When asked why she believed there was such a paucity of food donations to the shelter these days, Rawls said it’s because of the current, tough economy. “People just can’t afford to donate,” she said. “Right now, people are trying to hang on to their own homes –– there’s just not a lot of extra money.”

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Photo by Jeylin White: Nadia, a dachshund, is one of the many animals up for adoption at the Clayton County Humane Society, in Jonesboro. Nadia was abandoned with her puppies and has been at the Humane Society for only a few days.

Chris Mitchell, who has been a full-time employee at the shelter for 3 years, agreed with Rawls. “ Because of the economy,” he said. “I’ve been here for several years and I have noticed a major decline in people donating to the shelter.”

Rawls said the shelter is strictly operated on charitable donations and four major fund-raising events each year. “We have to step up our fund-raising a bit, because there’s such a demand,” she said. “But, charities always struggle to stay afloat––and when you’re an animal charity, it’s a little harder.”

In this economy, she said, with so many people losing their homes, animals are not as much of a priority anymore. As a result, she added, the shelter has had an influx of animals. “We have had a lot of animals turned in, or given up,” she said, “and they’re not always in good shape, because people have been cutting back and not getting the animals shots or sterilized.

“[Aside from the food] medical is another huge part of our expenses,” she said.

One particular example is a recent addition to the shelter “family, a female dachshund known as Nadia, who had just given birth when she arrived. She had been abandoned. Her puppies are now in foster care, but she still awaits a permanent home.

To make matters worse, being a smaller facility sometimes means animals have to be turned away. “But, when animals are accepted at the Humane Society, they remain at the shelter until they are placed in a home. We’re a no-kill facility, so, we don’t put animals down.

“Our facility is one that, once an animal has been here, they remain here until they get adopted,” she said.

Those interested in donating food or money to the Clayton County Humane Society, can do so in the following ways: Donate a gift card of any amount from PetSmart, Home Depot, or Wal-Mart; donate a bag of Purina One dog food or Purina Cat Chow. And monetary donations are always accepted.

Rawls said the shelter’s next major fund-raising event will be the Second Annual Poker Run, on Oct. 15, at Clayton County Harley Davidson, located at 1348 Southlake Parkway, in Morrow.

For more information about the fund-raiser, pet adoption, or how to donate, visit the Humane Society’s web site at: www.claytoncountyhumane.org, or call (770) 471-9436. The Clayton County Humane Society is located at 7810 N. McDonough Street, in Jonesboro.