LAW helps expand availability of low-cost spay, neuter options in Bartow
by Marie Nesmith
Mar 22, 2014 | 1565 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Entering its third year of operation, the League for Animal Welfare is continuing its efforts to enhance the lives and treatment of animals in Bartow County.

“LAW does not act as a rescue, adoption agency or foster group for animals,” LAW Vice-President Kathy Farnon said. “LAW strictly seeks to provide a better life for the animals of Bartow County and aid [Bartow County Animal Control and Etowah Valley Humane Society] ... wherever possible.

“The initial goal of LAW was to expand the availability of low-cost spay/neuter options in Bartow County. CatSnip was already coming to the county monthly but only offers surgery for cats. Budget Vet was added in August 2012 and sterilizes both dogs and cats. Both groups are now coming to Bartow County twice a month. In the first 16 months that both groups came, 1,684 dogs and cats were ‘fixed.’ [The] result of this is prevention [of] thousands of unwanted animals from being born. In 2013, Bartow County Animal Control took in 6,019 dogs and cats. Those that weren’t fortunate enough to go to rescue or be adopted through the vigilant efforts [of] Etowah Valley Humane Society were humanely euthanized. LAW strives to reduce the numbers of unwanted animals through low-cost spay/neuter and education.”

To help further LAW’s efforts, the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia has awarded three grants, enabling LAW to provide some financial assistance to those unable to pay for the low-cost spay/neuter services as well as supply cat and dog food to the Church of the Ascension’s Food Pantry.

“As a previous employee of Etowah Valley Humane Society, I saw the frustration of the staff at Bartow County Animal Control and EVHS over the number of unwanted animals being turned in and euthanized,” Farnon said. “There are just not enough homes. Along with the other founding members of LAW, I knew that the only way to decrease these numbers was provide a way to prevent litters. The help of the spay/neuter groups coming to our county has been an answer to prayers.”

According to the nonprofit’s newsletter that was emailed March 11, LAW also is trying to curb the practice of tethering dogs and is raising money to equip Bartow County Animal Control’s vehicles with microchip scanners and Cartersville and Bartow County fire departments’ first responder units with dog and cat oxygen masks.

“We only have two [scanners] right now,” Bartow County Animal Control Director Debbie Elrod said. “They’re very expensive to start with and they run on batteries and things like that. So we have to keep them here at the shelter so we can scan [animals] when they come in, when they’re strays. Typically, right now, we have to scan as the animal control officers are bringing them in. They come in through the back door and if they come in late that afternoon, it might be tomorrow morning before we get them scanned. But we have to have people in the kennel go through and scan them so that hopefully we can find their owners.

“But what [LAW is] trying to do is purchase enough so that we can put them in all the trucks with the road officers. So that when they retrieve an animal, if it’s a friendly animal — not all of them are going to let you get around their necks or pick them up or pet them, but if they’re friendly — and we can scan them and we can get an ID number, then they can phone it back into us here and we can get on the phone and call. If that microchip has them registered like it’s supposed to be and we can find an owner who’s close by, then we can hopefully return that animal to its rightful owner as opposed to even bringing it to the shelter. ... So it would be a great thing.”

With LAW receiving no government funding, grants and public donations are integral to its overall operations. For more information about the nonprofit, to contribute financially or inquire about volunteer opportunities, visit www.leagueforanimalwelfare.org.