Coweta Humane Societies Form Coalition of Animal Lovers (COAL)

Thu, 05/07/2009 - 3:17pm
By: The Citizen

The six major Coweta County humane societies have entered into discussions to form a coalition to explore the benefits of working together while allowing each group to maintain its individuality and area of focus in animal welfare. Attendees at this landmark meeting were Michele Decker of For Paws Rescue; Barbara Grosse from Georgia Heartland Humane Society; Michelle Humphries of Georgia Humane Society; Luvana Dennis of Shelter Rescue; Kaye Phillips of Paws 911; and Jeanne West of The Good Shepherd Humane Society. Due to a scheduling conflict, LouAnn Jones of Newnan Coweta Humane Society was unable to attend.

“This is an idea that our agency has wanted to examine for quite some time,” said Barbara Grosse. “There is strength in numbers and ultimately, this will help animals.”

“When I spoke at the last commissioner’s meeting the one thing they stressed is that the humane societies in the county form a coalition if we expected the commission to act on some of the policy changes we want to see in the animal control shelter,” said Michelle Humphries “We couldn’t agree more and are very pleased to announce the formation of one.”

“While we retain the right to act independently within our separate agencies, there are great benefits to coming together for the common good of animals,” said Jeanne West.

Though unable to attend the meeting, LouAnn Jones offered her support for a coalition saying, “This is an idea whose time has come. Each organization comes to the table with their own strengths and specific missions. However, collectively the overall mission for us is to be a voice for the animals that have no voice. It will be helpful to work collaboratively with each other and with our county leaders to accomplish good things for the animals in our community.”

There was agreement among the agencies that there would be significant benefits to working together. Pooling resources would better enable these groups to seek and obtain grants; join forces to help animals and their owners in the event of any natural disasters; work on community projects to help to make improvements to the county shelter; and work on a community outreach and education program, stressing the importance of spay/neuter and proper care of companion animals.

Further areas of concern that would be better addressed through cooperative efforts include the impact of owner surrenders to the shelter and how to help these owners find alternative solutions; spay and neuter of all animals prior to release from the shelter; the passage of laws prohibiting the chaining and tethering of dogs; and the sharing of resources to facilitate transportation of animals to states in the northeast, where there is a shortage of adoptable animals.

One of the first people to recognize the importance of transporting adoptable animals to the northeast was Luvana Dennis. She explained, “It takes a great deal of planning, finances, and coordinating to successfully rescue animals from the Coweta County Animal Shelter and send them on transports to areas of the country that do not have a surplus of animals. It really does take a village.”

Agreeing with her was Kaye Phillips “There are far too many beautiful animals that need rescue for each agency not to cooperate with one another. After all, despite our differences, we all want the same thing - a better life for all animals,” she pointed out.

Michel Decker of For Paws Rescue is one of several agencies who helped the animal rescue efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. “My experience in Louisiana with the Humane Society of The United States (HSUS) taught me the power of interagency cooperation. What can be accomplished when everybody pulls together is a miracle, as was so very clearly demonstrated in the Katrina aftermath,” she shared.

The new coalition plans to meet once a quarter or on an emergency basis if needed. For more information, please contact Jeanne West, 770 463 – 5513 or

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