Avondale animal shelter tackles mercy killing

December 24, 2015

On 129 Lake St, behind Finder’s Keepers Fashions in Avondale, sits one of two LifeLine Animal Shelter locations.

Founded in 2002, the shelter works daily to stop euthanasia of “healthy and treatable” dogs and cats alike in Fulton and DeKalb counties.

Krystle Hillery, volunteer coordinator for LifeLine in Avondale Estates, said their mission is met by boosting adoption, offering economically-savvy spay and neuter services and publicly defending lifesaving policy.

“We hope to make Atlanta no-kill by the end of 2016,” Hillery said.dog 2

Even though adoption might seem like the only way to help the shelter, Hillery confirms that other opportunities are equally as important and beneficial.  Donating money, dedicating time to “walk dogs and socialize kittens” or starting a local supplies drive all help employees like Hillery carry out the company mission.

According to Hillary, “volunteers are one of the most valuable assets of our lifesaving organization.”

All ages of people are welcome, but volunteers under 18 years old need their parent or guardian to accompany them while hanging at the shelter. But that shouldn’t deter anyone – Hillery vouches that the animals are “both cute and adorable.”

“We have hundreds of regular volunteers.  Whether they are walking a dog, socializing with cats, tabling an event, spreading the word about spaying/neutering or assisting with fundraising,” Hillery said, “our volunteers are very important to us.”

Still, even if there’s no free time on the calendar or money left in the budget, sharing the animal wish list with others or promoting LifeLine’s events on social media helps.

All efforts shine through with the reported success rates of the shelter. Hillery relayed that the Avondale location alone adopts out an average of 75 animals per month. And the health of these adoptable animals is only helped by volunteer group like Tails of the Trail (TTOT).

This troop developed from the Nashville Hiking Meetup, a conglomerate of nature-admiring, outdoorsy adults. This Nashville-based group of hikers launched TTOT to grant shelter dogs the opportunity to experience the outdoors.

Kelly Stewart, regular hiker and one of the founders of TTOT, collaborated with Lifeline for the first time on Nov. 1, 2015, leading a group of volunteers to walk many of the shelter’s dogs around Avondale neighborhoods.

“When [TTOT] started investigating expanding to Atlanta, the shelter came highly recommended,” Stewart said, “and after I began direct conversations with the shelter staff, I knew we had a great personality fit across the organizations.”

The experience was a hit for locals and Nashvillians, so Stewart is currently planning to come together for future events. And collaboration seems like a good idea, considering the TTOT mission.

“Our tagline [for TTOT] is “humans hiking homeless hounds,” Stewart said. “We’re out to educate the public on shelter dogs and animal welfare in general, and we’re averaging eight hiking events per month.”

According to Stewart, TTOT is currently joining forces with Nashville’s Belmont University on special, or “private” events, which entails gathering volunteers from a single group or organization, including school clubs.
With efforts of collaboration and dreams of making a difference in the local community, this could be something that Decatur could emulate. Key Club or NHS, anyone? Remember, the animals are “both cute and adorable.”

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