Animal shelter volunteers lock themselves upPublished 12:53am Saturday, March 15, 2014
A group of local animal advocates is working to establishing a “no kill” animal sanctuary in the Bainbridge area to be named Southern Paws Animal Sanctuary.
To get the ball rolling, the group has planned a celebrity arrest event for April 5 to be held at Tractor Supply Store on Tallahassee Highway. Several persons, including
Dr. Cliff Bailey, Ryan Phillips, Ryan Shirley, Pat Livingston, Brenda Howell, Gary Breedlove and Roger Keaton have volunteered to be “taken into custody” on that date and held in a special cell until their friends and relatives can raise the $200 bail for each to insure their release. Called “Help get your Dog out,” the event will be from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Participants will not be taken away in police cars, but are requested to simply show up at Tractor Supply at the appointed hour. Miller said it is perfectly okay for the fugitives to bring the $200 with them when they turn themselves in if they wish to avoid the lock-up. She expects there will be additional “fugitives” by April 5.
The organizational committee is made up of Jill Breedlove, Sally Miller, Liz Widener, Deborah Bailey and Betty Martin. It has completed the incorporation status, has drawn up by-laws, and is currently working toward obtaining 501-C tax-exempt status.
According to information provided by Sally Miller, the group is seeking a suitable piece of land with at least two acres and a building that the owner would be willing to donate to the cause.
Miller said the no-kill sanctuary would differ from the animal shelters, which now have to take any animals that are dropped off or brought in by animal control. There are also many animals being surrendered by the elderly or persons with serious illnesses who are unable to care for their pets. Even those in the military who are going overseas have to surrender their animals if there is no one to care for them. Due to overcrowding at the shelter, animals sometimes have to be put down when the shelter is overflowing and all other remedies such as adoption and rescue have been exhausted.
A no-kill shelter will never put an animal down just because they run out of room, because, according to Miller, they will only be accepting animals on a limited basis and pursuing active adoption events. An animal must be accepted for admittance to the sanctuary.
“In the long run this should take a lot of pressure off the shelter which is run by the Humane Society,” said Miller. She added this is in no way a reflection on the great work and care provided at the Bainbridge-Decatur County Humane Society animal shelter. “My heart aches at what they have to deal with 24/7/365.”
Southern Paws Animal Sanctuary will also push for strong spay and neutering programs, as well as offering classes on how to care for animals, young and old.
Miller and the committee are planning to pattern their endeavor somewhat after the work being done at the Miss Kitty Feline Sanctuary in Thomasville; but Southern Paws would be for dogs as well as cats.
They have set an ambitious schedule to be up and running by the end of the year.