The Heard County Animal Control building is a small cement building, just to the side of the Police Department. It has a long history of controlling the animal problem in Franklin, Georgia by killing unwanted animals.
Enter Dawn, a tiny, determined, miracle worker of a woman who is the volunteer unofficial rescue coordinator for Heard County and is pretty much single-handedly responsible for saving the dogs who land in their shelter.
She used to volunteer in a shelter closer to her home in LaGrange, but she took a full-time job at the local elementary school and could no longer volunteer because the shelter was only open 10-2 each day.
SIDE BAR: Shelters that have restrictive hours like this are unlikely to have a robust adoption or volunteer program. They will also struggle with reclaims, as most people can’t get to the shelter during those hours to look for their dog or adopt a dog or volunteer. More people-friendly hours is one simple change that can have a profound effect on the live release rate of any shelter and on the quality of life for the animals in its care.
The smell is familiar to me now, but that hot August day in 2018 it overwhelmed my senses. The mix of disinfectant, urine, feces, mildew, and desperation was powerful, made even more so by the heat.
Shelters, even the good ones, I’ve come to understand, have the same smell. I recognized it that first time as the faint scent that would waft off of foster dogs when they arrived at our house off a transport from the south.
In that squat brick building, the smell was accompanied by the unrelenting noise of animals jumping against chain link, knocking over metal bowls, barking and whining, their nails grabbing for purchase on the cement.
I believe it was Margaret Mead who said: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.
SCAMP (Saving Cheatham Animals Mission PAWSible) is a smart model for how small group of committed individuals can help a publicly funded shelter. There’s so much to love about SCAMP (including its namesake pup!).
SCAMP is a 501c3 organization that raises money to directly help the animals at Cheatham County Animal Shelter. SCAMP provides immediate help by purchasing needed supplies, veterinary services, and pretty much anything outside the budget that a shelter would have to requisition the county government to obtain.