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Humane Society looking for foster homes for animals

VALLEY — Volunteers are needed to foster a pet at home as part of the Chattahoochee Humane Society’s “Home for the Holidays.”

Animals need to be picked up by Dec. 23 and returned by Dec. 26, or after New Year’s Day, according to Shelter Director Shon Sims. Foster families or individuals are responsible for purchasing food for the dog or cat in their care, but there are no other fees.

If volunteers can’t commit to bringing an animal home, they can always stop by the shelter to help. Volunteering can be as simple as showing up and petting or playing with animals, Sims said. She said sheltered animals are often scared and distrusting of their new surroundings.

“Pets can have a barrier issue,” Sims said about animals being housed in cages. “They may act aggressive through the barrier but it doesn’t represent their true personality. The more people who interact with them, the better their behavior.”

She said visitors holding them and petting them could help calm them. Helpers can also take a dog for a walk. 

“We always want volunteers,” Chattahoochee Humane Society Board Member John Radford said.

The shelter is also looking for people willing to adopt pets. The Humane Society tries to ease the transition to a forever home by giving pets their required shots in advance. Adopting an adult animal costs $100 and includes spaying or neutering, necessary vaccines, heartworm testing, and deworming. The price is much lower than getting a free pet elsewhere and having to pay for shots and procedures, Radford pointed out.   

Some animals arrive in pairs, called bonded pair intakes. Adoptive parents may consider taking a pair home to keep them from being split up.

“Studies have shown that the mental anguish is detrimental to the minds of animals when they have been separated from previous animals they have lived with,” Radford said.

Animals at Chattahoochee may be adopted out of state, thanks to Rescue Coordinator Kelsie Williams. She works with rescue centers across the country to help find animals a home.

“It’s a big networking system,” she said. “It’s a lot of reaching out to people.”

Groups may look for rescues of a particular breed, according to Sims. A specific area of the country may not have many strays because of local laws, so they come to Georgia to connect adoptive families with sheltered pets.

“That’s been pretty good to us,” Sims said. “One in Auburn has helped us with both cats and dogs. They have been great.”

The Chattahoochee Humane Society serves as the shelter for Lanett, Valley, and LaFayette. New arrivals must be held seven days to give owners a chance to reconnect with them if the pet is lost. After a week, they are available for rescue. 

Those wanting to assist the shelter may want to give, either money or supplies like kitty litter. The Chattahoochee Humane Society has restored its 501(C)(3) status and is ready to receive donations. The organization lost its charitable status when a former board member did not file the necessary paperwork with the IRS, according to Radford. The remaining board members were unaware of the lapse in status until it was lost, and the IRS notified the board.

“Upon realizing we no longer had our 501(C)(3), we hired an accounting firm to do the forensics and negotiate with the IRS to receive our 501(C)(3),” Radford said. “They did such a good job that our status was reactivated retroactively. It’s as if we never lost it.”

The Humane Society stopped receiving donations in the summer of 2017. The group announced at a July board meeting its 501(C)(3) status had been restored.

During the past two years, any spending beyond basic needs had to be paused. The group receives government funds, but only enough to stay operational, Radford said. The pause in their status has kept them from making needed improvements to their facilities.  

With their status restored, the Humane Society would like to make significant repairs. It is currently assessing and prioritizing potential repairs and improvements.

To learn more about donating, volunteering, and fostering, visit chatthumanesociety.org or call them at (334) 756-9377.

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