History of Athenspets

Athenspets.net was started in 2001 by an intrepid volunteer named Allyson. She created a webpage to advertise the dogs at the shelter in the hope of finding them adoptive homes or rescues before their time ran out. (At the time, the Athens Area Humane Society handled the cats.)

Over the years, other volunteers joined Allyson so that more of the dogs (and later the cats) could be photographed and publicized on a timely basis. In addition, the volunteers began collecting sponsorship pledges for the dogs and cats to help rescues afford to pull them, and funds to pay for the extraordinary medical expenses of a few of the impounded animals.

On January 30, 2015, a volunteer named Lisa formed Athenspets, Inc. as a Georgia nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation (and shortly thereafter got it licensed by the GDA as a rescue group), to better help the animals at the shelter by allowing more efficient fundraising. Despite this change, much has stayed the same: We are still an all-volunteer organization that devotes our time, love, and money to helping the needy pets of the Athens area and the people who love them. To this end, in addition to publicizing the impounded animals and expanding the medical care available, we work to reduce the future population of homeless animals by providing free or greatly subsidized spay/neuter surgeries for pets referred to us by Athens-Clarke County Animal Services staff, one of our rescue partners, or that we identify as needing help. If you or someone you know needs help with the cost of spay/neuter surgeries for owned or community animals, please email us at [email protected]!

In 2020/2021, we partnered with the University of Georgia School of Law to develop the innovative Community Interventions program, in which we provided progressive vetting and exposure to new people over a 6-month period of time to the animals from a community we identified as disproportionately producing medically and socially neglected dogs at the shelter, while providing information to their owners on legal requirements and best practices for pet ownership. We are hopeful that this pilot program can continue and are actively looking for funding for it and believe that data-driven community programs are the future of animal welfare in our area.

We are proud that this website has greatly increased the number of animals rescued and adopted from Athens-Clarke County Animal Services year after year, as well as reducing the number of neglected animals in our community. No cats or dogs have needed to be euthanized at the shelter because of overpopulation in our area since February 2021 but we need YOUR help to keep it that way, whether as an adopter, foster, volunteer, rescue partner, donor, publicist, or simply by thanking our corporate partners!

We greatly appreciate the Athens-Clarke County Animal Services staff. They are wonderfully supportive of this website and our programs and they make all their shelter volunteers feel welcome and appreciated. Their compassion for the animals in their care, their professionalism in running the shelter, and their outreach work to promote responsible pet ownership is amazing. The people and pets of Athens are very lucky to have them.