No one has told the cats and dogs of Northwest Georgia about the coronavirus or sheltering in. They continue to multiply and often find themselves homeless, hungry and sick, says North Georgia Animal Alliance president Valerie Hayes.
“At the height of kitten season this year,” says Hayes, “we had over 170 cats and kittens in foster care-adoption system, as well as a number of dogs. We still have well over 100.”
Hayes says the need to provide vet care, medicines and spay or neuter for so many animals did not change this year, but the ability to raise funds did.
“We have incredible regular supporters and we benefited from some good grants this year,” Hayes says, “but some of our fundraising events had to be cancelled, including our annual yard sale and all our fundraisers at local restaurants like Chick-fil-A and others.”
Very early in the year, the rescue had been considering a marathon or a motorcycle run as fundraisers but decided there wasn’t enough time to plan them. When the coronavirus hit, it became even clearer that these ideas would have been fraught with problems. The plan NGAA finally settled on was a cookbook: “Recipes to the Rescue.”
Hayes says over 30 people contributed recipes, some dozens of them. The book contains 200 recipes. “It’s been selling great,” says Hayes. “We’ve almost sold out of our first 200 and just got in another 200.”
“The money we raise,” says Hayes, “also goes to help community cats and to help people who are struggling financially with essential care for cats and dogs. We provide spay-neuter certificates to help people get their cats and dogs fixed. It goes a long way toward reducing the number of unwanted puppies and kittens.”
Hayes says NGAA has sent out 695 spay/neuter certificates so far this year. The certificates cover $30 for the spay or neuter of a cat and $40 for a dog. The group has also had 259 animals in its adoption program spayed or neutered and has had 268 community cats spayed or neutered.
Hayes says that in spite of not being able to hold public adoption events for most of the year, adoptions have been going well. “People look online, we work with other rescues, and just recently we’ve been able to keep a limited number of cats at Petsense in Fort Oglethorpe where we make many of our cats available. We’ve partnered with rescues in our area, in Atlanta and Nashville and in Pennsylvania and Maine to find homes for dogs and some cats.”