This past August, all puppies housed at the Macon Animal Shelter were euthanized after an outbreak of Parvo (a highly contagious virus that affects dogs) and Giardia (an infection that affects the small intestine) swept through the facility. A total of 45 adult dogs were temporarily relocated to a site in Central City Park’s livestock building while the shelter went through extensive cleaning.
The shelter, despite the detox, remains infested with cockroaches, mice and rats due to its location—right by the city dump.
The Macon Telegraph reported that the Parvo is believed to have come from the fenced-in grass behind the shelter. The puppies can no longer be taken outside because they face a much higher risk for contracting the disease.
The animal shelter was built 32 years ago on what was once a landfill, making it a “haven for cockroaches,” said the shelter’s interim director Van VanDeWalker.
During the Parvo outbreak last summer, animal control had to run two shelters: one at the current location, and one at the Central Park location.
Luckily, many volunteers stepped up to help take care of the Central Park location by cleaning the kennels and feeding the dogs.
Because of the hard-to-find-location and poor condition of the animal shelter, many people avoid it, subsequently avoiding pet adoption. That is why, according to the Macon Telegraph, 70 percent of animals are given lethal injection. Often, the shelter gets so full that it cannot accept any more animal drop-offs.
On Nov. 8, voters will consider a special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) which will dedicate $3 million dollars towards a new facility for the animal shelter, which will help to fix all of the aforementioned problems.
A new building, modeled after a Humane Society shelter under construction in Alpharetta, Ga., will replace the one here in Macon.
The shelter in Alpharetta has many state-of-the art features such as an air conditioner that, instead of recycling old air into the building, brings in new, fresh air, “cutting down on airborne spread of disease,” reported the Macon Telegraph.
The flooring is designed to have no cracks and holes, giving dirt and germs nowhere to hide. Outside will feature a play area with artificial turf, making it easy to clean, reported the Macon Telegraph.
VanDeWalker doesn’t yet know if the SPLOST money will be used towards building a completely new facility, or buying out an old building and renovating it, as was done in Alpharetta.
With a new shelter, the hope is that adoptions will increase and euthanizing will decrease. They also hope to have a larger volunteer base where Mercer students are welcome to help out.
For now, students can go and walk the dogs, and play with the dogs and cats as well suggested VanDeWalker. The dogs especially tend to suffer from boredom.
If the SPLOST money does not get passed, then the future is uncertain for the animal shelter. What happens “will be up to the county,” said VanDeWalker, explaining that in July 2012 Bibb County will be taking over the animal shelter.
“We have the chance to do the right thing. The city needs something it can take pride in and claim ownership for,” said VanDeWalker.
“Take good care of your animals,” he advised Mercerians living off-campus. They don’t need to end up in Animal Control.