SYLVANIA - Spay and neuter programs across the country are proving to be the biggest reason why the national average of animals euthanized is down significantly from 1970.
"We don't let an animal go out without being spayed or neutered," said Joy Evans, long-time volunteer at Friends of Screven County Animals.
The Friends group works with the Screven County Animal Shelter to find homes for local animals.
"We haven't euthanized any animals since January," said Bobby Smith, animal control officer for Screven County.
Since Smith recently assumed his position, he wasn't certain why no euthanizations have taken place.
"I couldn't give you a truthful answer," Smith said when asked if average rates of euthanization have gone down locally, "because I am new to it."
Due to a rumor earlier this year that began with a Georgia rescue group claiming the Screven shelter was not feeding the animals properly and euthanizing large numbers, Evans said city and county officials received angry calls from all over the country and Canada.
"We know what they were accused of was not true," Evans said.
Taking pictures of the animals to put on PetFinder.com is now the responsibility of the shelter, she said, and the Friends remain active in adopting animals.
"We are getting six puppies ready for transport up north now," Evans said.
In the northern U.S. there is a waiting list of people wanting puppies, she said, since there are much stricter spay/neuter laws in some states.
Transporting puppies to owners up north is another successful element of dog rescue occurring locally.
The rates of spaying and neutering has picked up, Evans said, which she attributes to the use of Spay & Neuter Alliance & Clinic or SNAC.
SNAC services and provides free transportation to 10 counties in South Carolina and Georgia to perform low cost spaying and neutering.
"This has been a good incentive for people adopting from us," he said. "About 90-95% percent are now spayed/neutered before adoption as opposed to 50 percent when I first started seven years ago," said an animal shelter worker, "but the euthanization rates seem to be about the same."
"We are not trying to take business away from the local veterinarians," said Evans, "but this is a great alternative for people who cannot afford to have the procedure done at a vet."
SNAC offers spays and neuters for about half the price of what a vet would charge, she said.
"We have definitely had increased success in getting animals adopted because we have this to offer," she said.