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DeKalb County celebrates grand opening of new animal shelter

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DeKalb County celebrates grand opening of new animal shelter

PHOTO USED FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES: A dog at the DeKalb County animal shelter. File photo by Ellie Ritter

Several dogs were available and waiting for adoption at the grand opening of the shelter. According to LifeLine Animal Services, there are over 325,000 pets in DeKalb County occupying around 150,000 homes. Photo by Ellie Ritter

By Ellie Ritter, contributor 

DeKalb County’s new animal shelter received a warm welcome Wednesday morning.

The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners, joined by DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond and the Animal Advisory Board, among others, celebrated the grand opening of the shelter with a ribbon cutting and tour of the facility.

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The new $10 million shelter is located at 3280 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd., Chamblee, GA 30341, near the DeKalb Peachtree Airport. Occupying more than five acres, the building can hold more than 400 animals and is home to a new surgery room, lab area, clinic, 12 adoption rooms and several play yards.

“This shelter has been a long time coming,” Commissioner Kathie Gannon said. “Working on an animal shelter has been one of my goals throughout all my years [on the commission]. It takes a lot of work and funding, but when we do it, we do it right.”

The ribbon cutting at the new DeKalb County Animal Shelter. Photo by Ellie Ritter

Construction of the shelter began in March 2016. According to the LifeLine Animal Project, which manages the shelter, the new shelter be 50 percent larger than the old facility on Camp Road in Decatur.

Rebecca Guinn, the CEO of Lifeline, believes the new facility will help prevent unnecessary animal deaths.

“Over 9,000 animals were put down when LifeLine first started in 2002,” she said. “But now, animal welfare has progressed to a point where we can all put a stake in the ground and say that if the animal can be saved, it should be saved.”

Guinn was one of many who helped to make the new facility a reality. The Animal Advisory Board, the group who advises the county’s commissioners on matters related to animal services, pushed hard for the development.

“When I was first elected, the first people who wanted to meet with me were the Animal Advisory Board,” Commissioner Nancy Jester said.

Gannon echoed that sentiment, saying that “the people in the red shirts [on the Animal Advisory Board] came to every meeting we had, and eventually even started holding their own press conferences.”

Now, stray cats and dogs will have not only a home, but also a “sanctuary” in DeKalb County.

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