By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
January 27, 2020
VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- Some 'Best Friends' are stepping up for animals in Valdosta in a big way.
National animal welfare organization, Best Friends Animal Society, gave a $10,000 grant to the Humane Society of Valdosta Lowndes County. The donation will support the humane society's Life Ride transport program.
The program helps to relocate cats and dogs from overcrowded shelters in South Georgia in to shelters with more space in the northeast, and in turn, saving the lives of more animals.
"We started this program about this time last year, and for all of 2019 we transported 279 animals, dogs and cats," said Director of Operations Emily Smith. "I've already transported fifteen cats this year, so we're almost up to 300. It makes a big difference, as far as keeping the shelter from getting overcrowded."
Georgia ranks fifth in the nation for shelter euthanasia rates, with more than 42,000 cats and dogs put down just in 2018.
Smith said programs like this can help raise awareness for the help these animals need.
"A lot of people don't realize that it's a problem, and we're trying to fix that. We're trying to educate the community about the importance of spaying and neutering their pets," Smith said. "Transport helps now, but spay/neuter awareness is going to help in the future so we don't have to transport."
This donations is expected to help relocate more than 200 cats from Lowndes County.