The Douglas County Animal Shelter has a state-low euthanasia rate of 15 percent.

That announcement was made Saturday night at party where County Commissioner Mike Mulcare was celebrating 50 years of marriage to his high school sweetheart, Peggy.

The Mulcares, longtime animal advocates, understand that to keep euthanasias down, a big emphasis has to be put on spaying and neutering.

So, they decided to turn their golden anniversary into a fundraiser called “Going to the Dogs…and Cats Too” for the county’s Spay and Neuter Program at the new animal shelter. They had help from the Douglas County Humane Society and Douglas County Animal Services.

“We knew we wanted to have a special celebration for our 50th anniversary, but we felt it should be a purposeful party and that we wanted to reach out beyond just our circle of relatives and known friends,” Mike said. “We adopted our Lana and Millie from the shelter and humane society, respectively, and they are typical of the loving and physically sound pets that make a great fit with someone’s home. So we wanted to focus on animal welfare. So the party was the occasion but this (Spay and Neuter) initiative became the cause.”

A sold-out crowd turned out Saturday at Deer Lick Park to help the Mulcares celebrate 50 years and raise money for the Spay and Neuter Program.

Pat Fulghum, chairwoman of the Animal Control Advisory Board, said at least $15,000 was raised at Saturday’s event at that she’s hopeful when the final numbers are tallied the number will be closer to $18,000.

To give you an idea of how far that will go, Animal Control Manager Frances McMillan said 20 animals can be spayed/neutered for every $1,000 raised.

We commend Mike and Peggy and everyone involved in the fundraiser, which will become an annual event to support the spay/neuter program.

The animals in Douglas County have taken a back seat for too long. A new shelter is finally being built that will have a surgical suite where animals can be spayed or neutered before they’re adopted out.

There is a correlation between euthanasias and pet overpopulation caused by people not getting their animals spayed and neutered.

Dogs and cats adopted at the Douglas County Animal Shelter are required by county ordinance to be spayed or neutered with 30 days of being adopted by their new owners. But animal control has a hard time enforcing the ordinance.

McMillan said that 20 percent of the animals adopted are not “sterilized” and that if each of those pets produced one litter, the amount of offspring would exceed the total number of pets adopted for that year alone.

That fact alone goes to show just how important Saturday’s fundraiser was. Having the animals spayed/neutered before they leave the new shelter can only decrease the number of animals adopted who aren’t contributing to the pet overpopulation problem.

Mulcare said the spay/neuter problem is much more prevalent in the South than other parts of the country.

He points out that PetSmart picks up animals from all over the Southeast and takes them to the Northeast on a weekly basis because, he said, “that area has a demand for companion pets that can’t be met locally, in part because of effective spay and neutering programs.”

Mulcare also notes that from an economic standpoint, it “just makes sense for the shelter not to contribute to the unwanted pet population by adopting out animals that are capable of reproducing.”

He cites a Minnesota study that shows that for every dollar spent on spay and neuter programs, $35 is saved in future animal control costs over 10 years.

“Can we fiscally and morally continue to do what we’ve done in the past?,” Mulcare asks.

The obvious answer is no. 

We urge the citizens of the county to comply with the law and get your animals spayed or neutered, if you haven’t already, and to help spread the word to your friends and neighbors about why it’s so important.

And we encourage those capable of donating to the Spay and Neuter Program to make a financial contribution.

The best way, Mulcare said, is to earmark a check for the “Spay and Neuter Program” and send it to the Douglas County Humane Society, P.O. Box 747, Douglasville, GA 30133. Make sure you make a designation on your check or with a note included that your donation is for spaying and neutering. You can call the Humane Society at 678-838-9123.

For more information you can also contact McMillan at 770-942-5961.

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