By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
February 18, 2019
LOWNDES COUNTY, Ga. (WCTV) -- The Humane Society of Valdosta/Lowndes County said 'bon voyage' Sunday to 11 cats on their way to their fur-ever homes.
The cats were brought to the Atlanta Humane Society as part of its new transport program. The program brings together humane societies all across the region, allowing organizers to take cats and dogs from full facilities to 'no kill' shelters, making room to save more animals.
The Humane Society of Valdosta/Lowndes County transported its first group of 16 dogs in January, some traveling as far as Ontario. On Sunday, organizers transported its first group of cats.
While the program is helping to save lives in Lowndes County, organizers said there is still more work to be done.
"It's only as a result of overcrowding that these dogs and cats are being euthanized, but hopefully because of this program we'll be able to go to a 'zero-kill' county," said Volunteer Coordinator Tim Hill.
The humane society was able to purchase a new transport trailer, thanks to a more than $30,000 donation by a board member, in honor of his grandfather. The trailer makes it easier to bring animals to and from 'no-kill' partner shelters in the region.
It can be especially important when partnering with surrounding states that have registration and spay/neuter laws. Georgia does not.
"They've really cut back on overpopulation, so those states have a need for adoptable dogs," said Director of Operations Emily Smith. "We have an excess of adoptable dogs because our shelters are getting overcrowded."
Organizers said until the area increases spay/neutering, programs like these are just a band-aid fix to overpopulation.
"When you've got literal thousands of kittens, sometimes, that have come in, there's nothing else they can do other than euthanize so they can make room for more," Smith said. "It's a necessary evil at this point, but that is why transport is so important."
All 11 cats are happy and healthy in Atlanta waiting on their forever homes.
Organizers hope to start making regular trips to Atlanta with both dogs and cats.
The humane society relies on donations to get these animals to their new homes. Donations can be made online.