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Time running out for death row dogs as 'Pet Pardon' ends

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UPDATE: Dogs received a 72-hour reprieve due to clogged phone lines that made it impossible for anyone to get through. The dogs now have until Friday, Jan. 23. It's not clear if they will be killed Friday or not.

The Pet Pardon signed by director of Macon-Bibb County animal control Sarah Tenon on January 9 comes to an end today, and dozens of dogs are now in danger of being euthanized tomorrow.

When the third pardon was signed, about 35 dogs and a few cats were at the facility. As of this morning, all of the cats have been adopted or rescued, but there are 52 dogs on "death row."

An off-site adoption event last Saturday got four dogs out of harm's way, but that wasn't nearly enough to raise hopes that no animals will be killed on Wednesday. Adoptions are slow and owner turn-ins are high. Animals turned in by their owners have almost no chance at survival.

The success of two previous pet pardons was the result of media attention and enthusiastic support by both the community and staff. No mention of this pardon was made on the animal control website or Facebook pages, and no attempt by the county to promote the pardon or the off-site adoption event appears to have been made.

Shane Smith of Paws for Hope and Faith brought the idea of Pet Pardons to middle Georgia, with the first one at Macon Animal Control. The most recent pardon before Macon's is in Terrell County, and include regular off-site adoptions, support from the community and social media, keeping the shelter kill-free for weeks.

The Macon-Bibb Pet Pardon ends when the shelter closes at 4:30 p.m. today. Dogs not spoken for by early Wednesday morning are subject to euthanasia.

The $130 adoption fee for animals here includes a refundable $50 spay/neuter deposit. Spay/neuter surgery and a rabies shot are included in the actual $80 adoption fee. Some sponsorship funds are available to help defray the cost of adoption. You must pay the deposit yourself. Contact On Borrowed Time, a Facebook group that supports the shelter and can normally answer most questions about sponsorship funds.

Animal control is open from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Call 751-9200 for information on specific animals, and have the animal's ID number ready.

About 50 dogs remain in the pound now, where the number housed since the county took over the shelter July 1 has been routinely kept to below 40, often by killing excess "inventory." Rescuers and social networkers are working feverishly to find foster homes and to encourage anyone thinking about getting a pet to look first at the many good candidates for adoption at the pound.

To view adoptable animals, visit the facility at 1010 Eleventh Street. The adoption room only holds about five dogs, so ask to see the others that have completed their "stray hold" time or are owner surrenders, as these can also be adopted. There were about 30 dogs at the shelter at the time the pardon was signed, so all should be past their hold times and available now. More recent additions may not yet be available.

Click here to view all of the dogs at Macon-Bibb County animal control.

If you prefer to foster a dog, pick one out and contact area rescue groups to find out if they are willing to pull the dog and allow you to foster until it can be transported up north, or adopted locally. Rescues pay all expenses for foster animals.

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