Director of Animal Control: Habersham may open new shelter this year

An empty piece of land belonging to Cornelia County holds the promise of a new start for unwanted animals in Habersham County and renewed hope for those who care for them.

One of Habersham’s most anticipated SPLOST projects, a new animal shelter, is in the works. The county is in the process of finding a qualified architect with experience building animal shelters to start the project. Once they find this architect, they will start drawing up a design for the building and then put out a tender for the construction. The county hopes they could open the new shelter within the year.

The vacant lot at the end of Frank Arrowood Road in Cornelia is set to become the future home of HCACC. (Hadley Cottingham/Now Habersham)

Habersham County Animal Care and Control (HCACC) hopes the new facility will include adequate kennel facilities for dogs and cats, quarantine facilities for sick, pregnant or nursing and aggressive animals, improved ventilation, an area for pen for lost livestock, an adoption area, a conference room for education, volunteer orientation and meetings, and video surveillance for the shelter.

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One thing they hope to achieve in the new shelter is something that will provide a much-needed service to the community and save the animals’ lives: an on-site surgical wing.

Animal control officer Chris Broadway and manager Madi Nix survey the grounds excitedly, trying to imagine what a new facility on the empty grounds will look like. (Hadley Cottingham/Now Habersham)

“One of the key things we’re hoping for with the construction of the new animal shelter is to have the ability to have a small surgery area,” said Madi Nix, County Animal Care and Control Director. Habersham. “We would be able to not only have adoptable animals sterilized in-house, but also have the ability to provide these services to the public at low cost.

Many pet owners in Habersham struggle with financial hardship which makes veterinary care, namely neutering and neutering of animals, inaccessible. Through partnerships with nonprofits and state veterinarians, HCACC has been able to provide options for the community to help provide these services, but moving these procedures in-house will make these services much more accessible.

Nix says neutering and in-house neutering would reduce the population of unwanted, abandoned, feral and homeless animals in Habersham and that an improved shelter would reduce the number of adoptable animals in the shelter.

“I think it would increase adoption rates, I think it would increase our volunteer base, and I think it would increase the overall positive foot traffic there. [the shelter]Nix says. She thinks the improved shelter will also help the community engage with the animals.

“Some of the places that have better facilities are able to host summer camp programs for the community, they may have school programs,” Nix explains. “Even though we have scout troops and Tallulah Falls [School] who like to come and help us, we really don’t have the capacity to house the kids, entertain them or really have a safe space for them to interact with the animals.”

Nix says that even with all the upgrades the shelter needs to better serve the county, the most important part of this new shelter is giving the community a place to connect with HCACC’s programs and meet their next friend at fur in an establishment where they feel comfortable. in.

The HCACC truck, parked in front of the parking lot, signals the start of a new chapter for county employees who save animal lives every day. (Hadley Cottingham/Now Habersham)

“My main goal in this new facility is to create a place that the citizens of Habersham want to engage with,” says Nix. “We want to have a positive impact on animal care in Habersham County, and with everything our community has done for us over the years, the support, the encouragement, we want to finally be able to give back.”

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