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Officials: Atlanta  Humane society making changes
by Rachel Kellogg
July 03, 2012 01:50 PM | 3794 views | 1 1 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In response to allegations made in a series of local TV news investigations, officials with the Atlanta Humane Society reports that they have made changes.

William Shaheen, who has been president of the organization for about seven months, said a positive outcome of the news reports was that it has bettered the humane society’s relationship and communications with the state Department of Agriculture.

According to Shaheen, when the organization learned that contagious disease reports were not being received by the Department of Agriculture, they hand delivered, within 24 hours, all the reports, including ones relating to Parvo, to Georgia’s State Veterinarian’s office for 2011 and 2012.

“The intention was never to hide the contagious disease reports,” Shaheen said.

Shaheen said when it came to light that the reports weren’t being received, he met with Gary Black, the state’s Agriculture Commissioner and signed a memorandum of understanding.

“We have set up a method where AHS is able to send all the contagious disease reports via email now, so we don’t have any issues with fax machines not communicating,” Shaheen said. “Going forward, we’ve passed all our [Department of Agriculture] inspections and really have a good relationship with [the department].”

Shaheen also said the person who was responsible for sending the reports is no longer with the organization.

Another issue the humane society has responded to is the number of its animals that come from outside the area.

“We really view our mission as without boundaries,” Shaheen said.

But, according to Shaheen, more than half of the animals the organization receives to adopt out are from Georgia and 25 percent are from the metro Atlanta area.

“Also, we now conduct regular visits to Fulton County Animal Control, Henry County Animal Care and Control and Douglas County Animal Shelter in search of adoptable animals in need of forever, loving homes,” he said.

“We’re making a concerted effort to increase the number of animals we bring in from the metro area and Georgia.”

The news segments mentioned that the organization recently brought in dogs from the Bahamas, but according to Shaheen, that was not a typical occurrence.

“The Bahamas is largely a tourist destination and they are unable to adopt animals there. The shelters there usually send their animals to Florida shelters, but they were full,” he said.

“So they reached out to us and asked if we’d be willing to take in some dogs. The end result is those animals were placed into loving homes.”

As a result of the reports, Shaheen said he has “gone through our entire standard operating procedure manual with both the senior directors of operation as well as the director of admissions and just looked at every single procedure and policy to see how we can improve upon it.”

Since the Atlanta Humane Society opened its Mansell Road campus last December, the north Fulton community, Shaheen said, has given them a warm welcome.

So far this year, the organization has adopted out 4,100 animals, and 1,600 of those were from the Alpharetta location.

Shaheen said the humane society has an adoption goal of 10,000 animals for the year.

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