Animal Ark Rescue's Story
|I began as an animal advocate in 2010. At that time, I became aware that 80% of cats and dogs were being euthanized in our local Columbus GA Animal Control. It took no time to become familiar with the No Kill movement that was sweeping over our country and as I watched other cities doing it, I became convinced that this was possible for Columbus, GA too.
Out of that passion, I founded Animal Ark Rescue in 2011 with the sole purpose to reduce the euthanasia rate in Columbus GA and to help Columbus in becoming a No Kill Community. We started with no facility, no money and only a handful of volunteers. Every weekend, come sun or rain, we were at the corner on one of the busiest streets in Columbus adopting out dogs and cats that we had pulled from the pound. In the middle of the year, I attended the No Kill Conference in Washington, DC. There I met people like Ellen Jefferson and Ryan Clinton, who were already doing in Austin, TX what we dreamed about in Columbus. Feeling empowered and energized I returned home and boldly asked to lease the old Humane Society Building on Sacerdote Lane.
- In August of 2012, we also implemented our first live saving program. We targeted all the puppies coming into Animal Control and since then, every puppy has been safety netted with us as we established a “Puppy No Kill Zone”.
- In January of 2013, we received the keys to the 40-year-old shelter that had been sitting empty for years. Decay and neglect was evident all over the building, but it hampered our enthusiasm only for a moment. After pleas for help, the community showed up in large numbers and together we cleaned, fixed and painted relentlessly. The outpour of support was over whelming; all of our dog and cat food was and still is donated by individuals.
- In 2014, we added the small dogs, the seniors, the sick and injured (dogs and cats) and were successful in saving another segment of at risk animals.
- In 2015, we felt the time was right, and we joined the Best Friends Animal Society as a network partner, to add yet another target to our programs. We then added the cats and kittens to our safety net. In December of 2015, after adopting out the entire shelter population over the Black Friday Weekend (sponsored by Zappo) we were able to insure that no animal in Columbus GA Animal Control was euthanized due to lack of space there.
- In 2016, we steadily increased our numbers from previous years. 2016 has been our best year to date. We pulled animals from Columbus Animal Care and Control on an almost daily basis in an effort to reach a No Kill status. While we did not reach that during 2016, we are certain with the continued support from our community, we can and will accomplish our goal soon. Zappos and Best Friends Animal Society sponsored our Black Friday Weekend special for a 2nd year in a row. More than 100 dogs and cats were placed in loving home during that weekend. We are looking forward to seeing what 2017 has in store for us and the companion animals of Columbus, GA.
The only category that is left at risk at Columbus GA Animal Control is the large mixed breed dogs. We are working non-stop to find ways to lesson our shelter stay for large dogs in order to increase the numbers we can take. We helped establish and joined a coalition with other shelters in our area to build bridges and the infrastructure for a No Kill Community.
We are on our way; the euthanasia rate for Columbus GA is at the lowest is has ever been (10%, 2016) in the history of local animal welfare.
Animal Ark Rescue, Director
To help create and maintain a NO KILL Community in Columbus, Georgia.