Clayton County shelter could euthanize up to 40 dogs Tuesday - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Dogs saved from euthanasia at Clayton County shelter

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JONESBORO, GA (CBS46) -

Animal rescue groups and members of the community rushed in Tuesday to save up to 40 dogs from being put down.

The shelter had no room for the animals, and had planned to euthanize them to free up space.

Some 50 animals found temporary or permanent homes as rescue groups worked throughout the day to get them adopted or into foster homes.

"It means those dogs get a second chance," said a smiling Maria Dorough, co-founder of Partners for Pets. "They're not going to be put down and they'll be able to go to homes. The response has been phenomenal and we're so grateful."

The head of Angels Among Us, another rescue group, came with crates in her car to pick up as many dogs as she could.

"It's definitely difficult," said Melissa Defeis. "It never gets easier. Every single time I come down here I leave in tears."

Based on the space the shelter currently has available, the director said no animals will be put down in the next several days.

"We're very pleased," said Maj. Johnny Robinson of the Clayton County Police Department, which oversees the shelter. "In fact, your story helped us out greatly because citizens did see it and reached out to us. That helped us greatly and we very much so appreciate that." 

Dorough said when her rescue group became involved in 2011, the shelter's kill rate was 84 percent. It is now down to 23 percent, but the crisis continues.

"I think it's one of the worst as far as stray animals, abandoned animals, abused animals and people just indiscriminately breeding their dogs," said Amy Adams, also one of the group's co-founders.

There were 122 dogs at the facility on Tuesday, two dozen beyond capacity. And Partners for Pets said more come in every day to the shelter that has no vet to provide care.

"We've had, I believe, at least three dogs die this week because of being in the shelter and there's not much we can do about it," said Bonnie Adams, a member of the rescue group. "We need a new shelter."

County officials met Monday to discuss plans to build a new $4 million shelter. They said they are still finalizing details but optimistically could open it by the summer of 2015.

"I think they've moved too slowly and something needs to happen now," said Adams, who noted funding for the new shelter was approved in 2008 though no work has started. "We need the new shelter right away because dogs are dying needlessly."

Dorough said in the meantime, her group will continue working to save as many dogs as possible.

"I can't tell you the nights we go home in tears," said Dorough. " We come out here and cry about certain dogs that we've done the best we can."

Click here to find out how to adopt a dog or make a donation.

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