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Animal shelter corrects problems after inspection

The Walker County Animal Shelter has been dealing with its share of problems and challenges of late, but Commissioner Shannon Whitfield feels things are now under control.

"The commissioner has empowered the shelter manager to stop all intake when the shelter reaches capacity," says Joe Legge, county public relations director. "This will ensure our staff can provide quality care to the animals already at the shelter."

Legge says the shelter doesn't like having to turn animals away, which is why matters got out of hand and the shelter had to shut down for a month. But, he says, from this point forward, there will be no choice but to refuse to take animals once the premises have reached capacity. The shelter passed state inspections in March and May 2019. But an inspection by the Georgia Department of Agriculture Companion Animal/Equine Division on June 21, the day after the shutdown, cited numerous violations: inadequate ventilation, overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, issues, and inadequate access to water for some of the animals.

The report says that on the day of the inspection, there were 142 animals housed at the shelter, which has 75 enclosures/stalls. According to the report, 36 cats and a litter of kittens were in office rooms and a hallway that were inadequately ventilated and were not clean, and a dog being kept in a bathroom had chewed through most of the sheet rock and exposed electrical wiring.

The report also states that animal areas, including outdoor runs, had dried urine and feces in them, unclean bedding, and litter.

Two inspections in July, on the 8th and the 18th, showed that the shelter had corrected all problems and was in full compliance with GDA regulations and standards. The shelter reopened on Aug. 1.

The biggest challenge the shelter faces, says Legge, is the number of people who surrender their animals to the county. "We have people who bring us pregnant animals or animals that have just had litters. This is why it's so important for people to be responsible and spay/neuter their pets."

Legge says that while the shelter has an annual budget of $300,000 and five full-time and two part-time staff members, keeping up with certain needs, such as supplies and the socialization of the animals, is a constant challenge.

"Thankfully," says Legge, "donors have stepped up over the years to help. We are grateful the public is willing to answer the call for food, supplies, toys and other amenities, so the county can focus its resources on quality care and finding animals a good home. An effective animal shelter works best when it's a revolving door and not a warehouse for animals."

Legge says he would encourage people who have a heart for animals to consider volunteering at the shelter. "We need adults who can love on, play with and socialize with these future pets. This helps calm them down, so when a potential adopter comes to the shelter, they can put their best paw forward."


To learn more about the Walker County Animal Shelter and to find a volunteer agreement, visit The shelter is at 5488 N. Marbletop Road, Chickamauga. Hours for adoption: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Animals are being taken in by appointment only at this time. Phone: 706-375-2100.

Heritage Day in LaFayette is Sept. 21

Marsh House Heritage Day has been moved to Saturday, Sept. 21, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will emphasize local history and authentic arts, crafts, and skills.

Special features

Heritage Bake Sale. Vintage pastries. Donors will furnish a name for the pastry and a description on a card. If you can't bake one, just buy one! Minimum $25.00, to support the Marsh House.

Antiques identification (Heritage Antique Roadshow) by Davene Nichols. Bring your favorite antique item or a good photograph and get Davene's opinion on its period and style. Free.

Garment Identification by Tina Rogers Barbaree. That old outfit you found in grandma's cedar chest. What time period was if for? What materials? How to preserve it or get a duplicate made. . Free.

Vintage recipes by a home economist. How to make that recipe with modern ingredients. Bring your recipe, you know, the one your found in that cookbook that belonged to your great grandmother and get expert advice on how to make it with modern ingredients. Warning: You may still have to search for real yard eggs. You can get herbs from the Marsh House garden.

Save it or Toss it? Bring old items and documents for review by Dr. Adam Ware, Director of the Bandy Heritage Center which is the repository for the Marsh House and Walker County Historical Society documents. Suggestions for preservation, free.

History Story Corps— Bring your favorite story about the Marsh House. Write it out while at Heritage Day. Get a prize for the best story—posting on Facebook.

Pop up tent. Anybody can bring something at the last minute to share. Extra vegetables, show off a Victorian outfit, personal art work or craft.

Gift Shop. The gift shop in the Welcome Center will have Heritage items available nowhere else.

Marsh House Heritage Display. Items recently donated by a Marsh-Warthen descendant, including old photographs of family members (19th Century) and documents will be

on display in the Welcome Center for the first time.

No charge for a crafts booth. Registration for a space through a Marsh House of La Fayette Facebook page message. Heritage Day occurs during the city-wide Autumn Rocks Festival with a fly in at the La Fayette Airport and sidewalk sales on the square and at the Depot/Mars Theatre District during the same hours.

Kick off the fall season with festivities on Sept. 21

The city of LaFayette is celebrating the beginning of the fall season with the second annual "Autumn Rocks Day" on Saturday, Sept. 21.

Autumn Rocks Day will include a golf tournament, the annual Fly-In, Heritage festivities, hayrides, inflatables and a tailgate party in the evening that will include a beer garden.

The event is free to attend and will last all day.

Harvest time

Throughout history, autumn is celebrated as a time where the harvest comes to an end for the year as crops are stored for the coming winter.

The leaves begin to fall, the days become shorter as day and night become equal in length. The temperature cools as the earth begins the transition from summer to winter.

In astrology, autumn is a time to be one with nature and all life forms as the sun moves into Libra.

Celebrating Autumn Rocks Day gives the community a chance to come together and be delighted in the way the city of LaFayette has thrived in 2019. This is akin to how our forefathers reaped the benefits from all of their hard work harvesting what was planted in the spring.

Golf tournament

Autumn Rocks Day will begin with the inaugural Autumn Rocks two-person scramble golf tournament kicking off at 9 a.m. at the LaFayette Golf Course. The entry fee for each team is $80 and includes lunch. Prizes will be awarded to the winners.

The closest to the pin on hole No. 14 in each group will qualify for a $1,000 shootout.

The hole-in-one shootout will be Saturday evening on hole No. 18 from 100 yards, with a $1,000 cash prize. Multiple winners are possible, and the cash prize will be split among the winners.

To register, sign up at the LaFayette Golf Course Pro Shop located at 1 Fred Henry Drive.


The annual Fly-In at the LaFayette Airport will now be a part of Autumn Rocks Day with a start time of 10 a.m. and will last until 4 p.m.

Come out to the LaFayette Airport and enjoy vintage airplanes, as well as modern-day aircraft, helicopter rides and free inflatables for the kids. The Al Millard Walker County Stocking Full of Love will also be on hand providing refreshments. Proceeds from the refreshments will go towards the Stocking Full of Love program.

Intro to caving

There will be an introduction to wild caving, where interested parties will meet during the Fly-In at the Pigeon Mountain Grotto booth. Interested parties need to meet at the booth shortly before 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. departure times, so arrive a few minutes early for this outdoor adventure.

Each group will follow in caravan style to the Horseshoe Cave in Chickamauga for a spelunking experience with caving guides.

Anyone under 18 is required to be accompanied by an adult.

Dress should consist of long pants and sturdy shoes, and knee pads are encouraged. Helmets and lights will be provided.

Spaces are limited to the first 30 people, with 10 in each group. Bring a clean set of clothes to change into after the caving adventure as the caves are tight and muddy. Call 706-639-1590 to register. If you have questions, text Sara Keys at 423-413-3067.

Heritage at the Marsh House

The Marsh House in LaFayette will be celebrating our heritage with periodstyle activities lasting from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Come out and get a taste of our heritage and local, historical culture at the historic Marsh House in LaFayette.

Tailgate party

On Saturday evening, it's tailgate party time at the LaFayette Golf Course. We will enjoy some college football on a large, outdoor multi-sided television display as the Georgia Bulldogs take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Be sure to bring your lawn chair and enjoy some college football as kick-off starts at 8 p.m.

The Autumn Rocks 5K Run will begin at 6 p.m. There is a $25 registration fee that includes a T-shirt for the event. The registration proceeds will go towards the LaFayette Parks & Recreation youth program. Visit to register for the 5K Run.

We will also have a live music performance by For Love Or Money from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. You will be able to fill yourself up on plenty of barbecue and tailgate food.

A beer garden will be available for attendees over 21 years old. The golf course will host tailgate games like corn hole, giant Jenga and much more.

There will also be activities for kids, including free inflatables, hayrides and shelter building, so there is something for everyone.

The Autumn Rocks Day event is organized by LaFayette Parks & Recreation, the LaFayette "Hive," LaFayette Golf Course, LaFayette Outdoor Adventures and Walker Rocks.

It's harvest time, so come on out to the city of LaFayette Autumn Rocks Day!