In this new day and age of modern technology, everyone is doing their best to keep up with the ever changing digital and social media networks. Emails, Instagram, and Facebook are just a few of the multiple ways the average American consumes news. Along with news, these social networks have become a place for those to share stories, sell items, and find animals a home.
The Athens-Clarke County animal control shelter, located at 125 Buddy Christian Way, has stepped up their on-line presence which has begun to make a significant impact at the shelter.
A dedicated group of volunteers created the website called AthensPets which is updated weekly with photos, videos, and even personal interactions the volunteers had with the animals. The website alone has existed since 2001, AthensPets has recently reached across multiple social media outlets.
Lisa Milot, a law professor at The University of Georgia’s school of Law, is an active volunteer at the shelter, and with her knowledge she helped AthensPets become a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization two-and-a-half years ago. She also started the medical program and the spay and neuter program, along with working on the website, and overseeing posting on their Facebook page.
According to Milot, the shelter sees an average of 30-35 dogs adopted monthly. Cats adoption rates vary due to the intake vary, and with the website and social media presence, Millet has seen a positive effect on the lives of the animals at the shelter.
“I was told by the superintendent at animal control that prior to AthensPets having the website, the euthanasia rate for dogs was 60%.”
“It was really awful. But then the creation of the website really helped getting the word out about the dogs, and the shelter will tell you there has been a huge change.”
Not only is the website and Facebook updated weekly, the group has a very active Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube accounts where they often post cute photos of new dogs and cats at the shelter, and ones who are in need of support.
The shelter has also added a new program called being an “advocate” for the dogs or cats. This is where a volunteer will take care of one dog or cat and really get to know them and what is special about them. They will post on social media and it also gives potential adoptee’s the ability to learn more about that animal.
The shelter also recently received donations to build “catios” which is an outdoor space that is completely screened in that will allow the cats to get fresh air.
“We have found that when cats spend more time in the interaction rooms that there is a lasting effect once they return to their normal cages and if they are adopted or rescued during their time, they are much happier. We are so excited to be able to give that experience to more cats.”
Meghan Flanagan, a student at the University of Georgia, adopted a boxer-hound mix named Remington from the Athens-Clarke County Animal Control shelter last spring.
“I knew I did not want a puppy, and when we went to the shelter he was just hanging out in his cage. My boyfriend and I took him out into the awesome pens at the shelter and again he was just hanging out. I sent a photo to my brother from the website and he thought he was so cool. We went back the next day and adopted him!”
Thanks to the website and social media, furry and lovable dogs and cats are able to find forever homes easier than ever!