Community members outraged over Clayton County euthanizing dogs

(CBS 46)
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 5:33 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Dogs at Clayton County Animal Control are all on death row, so to speak.

“When we get to a hundred animals, between the two facilities, at that point we have to make space,” said Captain Jodi Turnipseed with Clayton County Animal Control.

Making space often means euthanizing. Last year, Clayton County euthanized 3.7 percent of its dogs. Today, that number is 10 percent.

Captain Turnipseed says the reasons the county brings in dogs can vary.

“People [are] in financial situations where they can’t take care of their animals anymore. They’re being evicted or moving from a house to an apartment. If they don’t have any other alternative, they’re ultimately just going to turn the dog loose in the streets,” said Turnipseed.

On average, Captain Turnipseed says Clayton County Animal Control impounds 6 to 20 dogs a day and turns away between 15 to 20 people a week trying to surrender their dogs.

But it’s the uptick in dogs being killed that has rescue organizations up in arms.

“In other shelters, you find dogs that have been there for 6 months, a year, in some cases two, three years. And here, many of these dogs have only been here two, three weeks,” said Michelle Klymko with ‘Clovers in the Ruff Rescue.’

Last year, ‘Clovers in the Ruff’ saved 75 Clayton County dogs. Now, they’re struggling to save more.

“This is not the easiest organization to work with whether it be to get someone on the phone, to timely answer emails,” said Klymko.

Non-profit ‘Partners for Pets’ says it gets a list from the county every week with 20 dogs soon to be euthanized. Director Makeda Stewart says volunteers want to do everything they can to save the animals, but sometimes can’t get a response back from the county.

“If they don’t start working with us and helping us, we have no choice but to move on,” said Stewart.

The county, however, doesn’t see an issue with its communication.

“Partners refuses to communicate with me, so I can’t help them if they’re not willing to ask for help,” said Captain Turnipseed.

The county says its using every resource possible to prevent euthanizing, but staffing shortages also make what they can do very difficult.

Community members plan to voice their concerns at a Clayton County Animal Control board meeting on Tuesday night.