[THIS PAGE IS IN PROCESS. PLEASE CHECK BACK IN DECEMBER FOR MORE INFORMATION, INCLUDING A LISTING OF THE DOGS AVAILABLE THROUGH THE PROGRAM]
RELEASHED Dog Training Program
Dog Training Programs are an evidence-based initiatives designed to help low risk inmates — Returning Citizens — and at-risk dogs in communities across the country. These programs have been proven to improve the mental health of Returning Citizens and decrease the likelihood that they will reoffend. They also allow the dogs to get out of the crowded shelter and learn skills that make them more likely to be adopted!
The RELEASHED Dog Training Program is a partnership between Athens-Clarke County Animal Services, Athens-Clarke County Department of Corrections, and Athenspets. Dogs from ACCAS are brought to live in a specialized enclosure on Corrections property. There, they are trained and socialized by pairs of Returning Citizens under the supervision of Tricia Hall, of Bone-A-Fide Dog Training. Once the dogs are ready, usually after three to four months of training, they become eligible for adoption!
By adopting a dog from RELEASHED, not only do you get a happy, healthy, trained pet but you get to help animals and people in your community.
The Athens-Clarke County Animal Services shelter is a municipal, open-admission shelter. This means that it takes in owner surrendered animals from Athens-Clarke County residents and stray animals found by county residents or found in Athens-Clarke County limits whether or not there is available space (owners looking to surrender animals may be asked to schedule an appointment to do so but if you cannot hold onto the animal until the scheduled time, let staff know--they will work with you).
At Athenspets we are firm believers in having open-admission shelters; animals without another safe place to be need a place they can go instead of being left to wander and struggle to survive on their own or being hastily given to someone who will not have their best interests in mind. However, this means that critically injured animals, terminally ill and suffering animals, and aggressive animals are admitted and generally euthanized. In addition, because animals are admitted even when there is no available space at the shelter, at times they euthanize healthy, nonaggressive animals, including those that would make great pets but that are struggling in the high-stress shelter environment.
As a result, adopters and rescues need to act quickly, to help ensure space is available for the animals that need it.
Provided veterinary care
All dogs receive DHPP and bordetella vaccination, basic deworming, microchipping, and heartworm testing on impound. Dogs that test positive for heartworms are only available to rescues for the first 30 days; after that they can be rescued or enter a foster-to-adopt arrangement (apply here) and may be adopted after they are treated for heartworms (at county expense). Most dogs are also vaccinated against rabies and all are spayed or neutered prior to adoption.
Adoption & rescue process generally
Applications for an animal are taken by staff as soon as an animal is impounded. Each approved applicant, regardless of whether an individual or a licensed rescue group, is provided priority in adopting or rescuing the animal on a first-come first-served basis.
Once an animal becomes available (either because the stray hold period has expired or s/he was surrendered to the shelter by an owner), applicants may adopt or rescue the animal if he or she is still at the shelter at the adoption time arranged between you and shelter staff. If you were not given an adoption time, or before you come to the shelter for your adoption time, call the shelter at 706-613-3540 to arrange a time or find out if the dog is still available, as applicable.
Adopters or rescues that are not first in order of priority for an animal should call the shelter at the start of their adoption windows to determine whether the animal is still available for adoption or rescue. If so the adoption or rescue must be completed within the assigned time period.
More information about adopting a dog can be found on the county's website.
Because about half of our adoption applications fall through, it is worth putting an application on the dog of your choice, even if you're not first in line!
The current standard adoption fees for dogs are:
$150: Dogs under 25lbs and puppies 6 mons old or younger.
$100: Adult dogs over 25lbs and over 6 mons old that have been at the shelter 30 days or less.
$50: Any adult dog in the shelter over 30 days.
Applying to adopt a dog
To apply to adopt a shelter dog, go to the county's listing of impounded dogs. Click on the picture of the dog in which you are interested and complete the application the link reading "Interested in this animal? Click here" leads to. (You will need to scroll up to see it if the page looks blank.) If you do not hear back from staff within 48 hours, call 706-613-3540 to check in.
Not sure who you want to adopt?
If you would like to meet the dogs in person before adopting, schedule a walk-through appointment with staff by calling 706-613-3540. Since many of the available dogs are in foster homes, though, make sure to talk with Nicollette Watkins at the shelter and let her know of any dogs you think might be a good fit so she can make sure they are present for you to meet.
Athenspets hosts drop-in days at the shelter some Saturdays. Watch our Facebook page for announcements or ask shelter staff if there is an upcoming one scheduled! On these days, no appointment is needed to come by and meet the dogs, though only some of the dogs in foster care will be present. (If there is an upcoming drop-in day, let Nicollette Watkins know of any dogs listed in foster care in the shelter's on-line listing know of your interest so we can try to have them there--call 706-613-3540 to speak with Nicollette.)
Bring your dog to the shelter to pick a new best friend
We recommend bringing any household members the dog MUST get along with to the shelter for a meet-and-greet prior to adoption. This includes household dogs (they must be up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations and wearing a current rabies tag), young children, and elderly household members. Staff can help you make a great match!
Rescuing a dog
Athens-Clarke County Animal services makes it easy to rescue dogs! Our rescue partners ensure that there is always space at the shelter for newly impounded dogs that need a safe place to stay until their owners reclaim them or they are adopted or rescued.
In Georgia, only rescues licensed by the Georgia Department of Agriculture can take transfer of animals from a shelter if the transfer occurs in the state of Georgia. If you are an out-of-state rescue interested in helping with out our animals, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for information about how we can help you become a rescue partner.
Georgia licensed rescues interested in helping: please send a copy of your GDA license and a signed "authorized person" form to email@example.com, with information about the types (or specific identities) of the dogs you can help.
There are no pull fees and no restrictions on which animals a rescue may pull, but all rescues and adoptions are on a first-come-first-served basis without preference for either, except where an animal is designated as "rescue only".
If you are interested in rescuing a "rescue only" dog but need help with expenses, email firstname.lastname@example.org to see if sponsorship could be made available. Other animals may have private pledges of sponsorship as well; we can let you know these amounts (we are still coming up with a good way to advertise the amounts now that the shelter is publicizing the animals and will update this section when we can).
More information about rescuing an animal from Athens-Clarke County Animal Services can be found here.