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Leftover Pets: Saving Lives, Finding Forever Homes

By Elisha Neubauer

Since 2005, Leftover Pets has been fighting to reduce the high euthanasia rates in shelters across Georgia. As a 501c3 non-profit organization, the group partners with financial assistance programs and business sponsors to offer low cost spay and neutering in Barrow County. Leftover Pets also holds a Georgia animal shelter license and operates a no-kill shelter, finding forever homes for hundreds of cats and kittens yearly.

So what exactly is a no-kill shelter? Susan Thompson, co-founder of Leftover Pets, clarifies: "It's important to recognize what 'no-kill' means in the animal sheltering industry. The term actually means that 90% or more of the animals that come into a shelter leave alive."

She goes on to explain that there are two types of shelters: open intake and limited intake. An open intake is generally funded by taxpayer dollars and is required to take in all stray animals within their jurisdiction. This can lead to overpopulation, causing the shelter to have a 3-5 day maximum hold on all strays.

A limited intake shelter is typically a non-profit organization like a rescue agency or humane society. These tend to have a network of foster homes in addition to a physical shelter space. A limited intake shelter will only take in animals when they have room for them, thus allowing them to avoid becoming a kill-shelter.

"Achieving the goal of no kill is actually a community effort. The entire community needs to understand what responsible pet ownership involves. All pet animals should be spay/neutered, vaccinated for rabies, and identified with a microchip and/or a collar and tag," says Thompson. "If your pet goes missing, you should visit your local animal control within 24 hours to search for your pet. Frequently pet owners assume someone took their pet or that the pet will come home in a few days. More often than not, the pet is at animal control waiting for the owner to come."

In order to help keep the homeless animal population under control, Leftover Pets hosts a special reduced rate clinic once a month. Barrow County citizens can receive spay or neutering services at a discounted price- sometimes at half the cost. This monthly clinic has been well-received by the community. "They take advantage of these services for their own pets as well as strays," Thompson says.

To date, Leftover Pets has performed over 26,000 surgeries and successfully placed hundreds of cats and kittens in loving homes. Thompson says, "No one wants to see puppies and kittens or even adult dogs and cats suffer neglect or homelessness. When pet owners, spay/neuter clinics, municipal shelters and rescue agencies work together, LIVES are saved."

For more information on Leftover Pets, visit

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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