“This isn’t a fundraiser per se,” EVHS Director Bryan Canty said. “This is an annual outreach program that we have to educate the kids on responsible pet ownership and also making them aware of pet overpopulation in Bartow County. Owning a pet is more than just feeding it and giving it shelter. [Along with neutering and spaying], there are vaccines that have to be maintained. You want to make sure that you give them every opportunity to have a thriving life much like you would give a human being. This year has been especially woeful with the intake of animals at Bartow County Animal Control. The mild winter that we’ve had has caused more breeding cycles and pets especially have been hard hit.
“The intake is just astronomical. You can’t even believe the number of pets that are being brought in Animal Control and having to be turned away simply because they’re running out of space every week. My mantra would be train them in the way that you would have them to go as opposed to reprogramming them as adults. So that’s why reaching the children at an early age is especially important now. We may not see the effects from our efforts for a generation to come but just knowing that that mechanism is in place gives us hope.”
Opened in 2006, EVHS’ 4,928-square-foot shelter at 36 Ladds Mountain Road in Cartersville costs about $240,000 per year to manage. The shelter consists of two staff offices, a quarantine room, two visitation rooms, 14 temperature-controlled kennel runs, a cat room with 24 cages, a puppy room with 22 cages and seven outdoor kennel runs.
In addition to vendors, the Bow Wow Meow Family Festival also will feature performers, pet education and adoption, games, speakers and information about the Paws & Claws Club, which is open to businesses, grade schools, churches, and civic or social organizations.
“Being a responsible pet owner involves more than just loving on a pet and feeding it,” said Enger Dickey, event coordinator and EVHS board member. “Spaying and [neutering] is part of responsible pet ownership, making sure your animals are vaccinated and up to date on all of their vaccinations, not just a few of them and not just when you feel like doing it. [We hope] just basically that they learn ways to take proper care of their pets.
“... It needs to become a lifelong habit and part of the way you think. We have such a problem in Bartow County with people not necessarily purposefully not caring for their pets but not really knowing what their options are. So if you start with them young, they’ll carry that through life. They can share it with other people and hopefully it will help ... in the future so we don’t have any issues with unwanted or homeless pets or pets that are [unproperly] cared for.”
Admission to the festival will be a $5 donation. For more information, call the EVHS at 770-383-3338 or visit www.etowahvalleyhumane.org.