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Atlanta, Ga. (November 14, 2011) – Furkids, Inc. (www.furkids.org), one of the most successful nonprofit animal rescue organizations in the southeast, announced today that it is joining forces with a respected leader in the Atlanta rescue community, SmallDog Rescue & Humane Society (SDR, www.smalldoghumane.org).
Effective immediately, Furkids will acquire SmallDog Rescue & Humane Society, assuming total responsibility for the management and operation of the organization. This acquisition allows the SmallDog Rescue & Humane Society board members – executive director Anne Stockton, secretary Pat Bittinger and treasurer Linda Gill, to retire from daily, active business management. They will, however, continue to volunteer and support Furkids. Furkids founder and executive director Samantha Shelton will continue to head the organization.
Furkids, founded in 2002, operates the largest cage-free, no-kill shelter for homeless cats in Georgia. SmallDog Rescue & Humane Society, founded in 1995, is dedicated to finding loving families for homeless dogs in Georgia. The union of the organizations will greatly extend the reach of Furkids, expanding operations to include the rescue, no-kill care, and adoption of both homeless cats and dogs.
Functionally, Furkids and SmallDog Rescue initially will operate two facilities: the 4,800 square-foot Furkids shelter for cats in Gwinnett County and the 4,375 square-foot SmallDog Rescue shelter in Forsyth County for dogs, where Furkids will place a full-time operations manager. Ultimately, the Furkids goal is to operate one consolidated shelter that efficiently houses cats, dogs, medical services and administrative offices.
Furkids will merge current staff members, medical practitioners, volunteers, foster caregivers and donors and will hold events and fundraisers for people who support cats and dogs. The acquisition also will allow Furkids to expand its adoption center programs to include cats and dogs at a total of 12 retail pet supply centers: seven PetSmart locations (Mall of Georgia, Midtown, Norcross, Northlake, Perimeter, Sandy Springs and Smyrna) and five PETCO locations (Alpharetta, Edgewood, Holcomb Bridge, Milton, and Sandy Springs) in metro Atlanta.
Furkids also will maintain its thrift store (www.furkids.org/store) at 4015 Holcomb Bridge Road in Norcross. A new board of advisors will be named in the coming weeks.
Furkids cares for more animals on a daily basis than any other local organization, including the Atlanta Humane Society. Approximately 500 animals – mostly cats – reside with Furkids, at the organization’s shelter, adoption centers and in its foster program. SmallDog Rescue & Humane Society currently has approximately 85 animals in its program, either in the shelter or foster homes. During the past several years, the two organizations have had a loose affiliation in which they have exchanged selected animals, each helping the other rescue or place cats or dogs into adoptive homes. Both have exacting adoption processes and a commitment to the highest level of care, including shelter and foster home care, for homeless animals in their programs.
“Cats are only a part of the homeless animal population. Since our inception, Furkids has rescued and enfolded a handful of abandoned dogs at a time into our program, but our organization hasn’t had the resources available to care for a large number of dogs,” said Shelton. “Not only does joining forces with SmallDog Rescue & Humane Society make this capability possible, but the union of two strong, fully-functioning operations is virtually seamless.” According to Shelton, the alliance creates an extremely strong animal rescue organization, with the sum being stronger than the individual parts.
The Furkids mission is to help end pet overpopulation in Georgia through sterilization, high-quality adoption and by providing valuable spay/neuter services and pet care education to people in the community. Every year, in Metro Atlanta alone, up to 100,000 dogs and cats are euthanized, because they have no place to go. “There is no reason why these animals should die simply because they are homeless,” said Shelton and Stockton.
Neutering remains a keystone of the organization’s program because pet overpopulation in the United States is a very real problem. Both Furkids and SmallDog Rescue & Humane Society sterilize all unaltered animals in their programs before placing them in adoptive homes. Since its inception in 2002, Furkids has rescued and altered more than 6,000 animals. SmallDog Rescue & Humane Society has rescued and altered approximately 5,000 animals since it was founded.
“Becoming a part of Furkids represents the next step in the evolution of SmallDog Rescue & Humane Society, ensuring that our work to rescue homeless dogs will not just continue, but continue to flourish,” said Anne Stockton, executive director of SmallDog Rescue & Humane Society. “Furkids will maintain the SDR vision to combat pet overpopulation and provide the ultimate in rescue, no-kill care and adoption services to homeless animals.”
Furkids was founded in 2002 when then-Equifax executive assistant Samantha Shelton found a mother cat depositing three newborn kittens in her backyard. What began simply as a quest to find shelter for four cats in a place where they wouldn’t be euthanized has grown into a nonprofit organization that today operates the largest cage-free, no-kill shelter in Georgia. The organization has been confirmed as one of the top charities in America by Independent Charities of America. Of the top six animal rescue organizations in metro Atlanta, Furkids has the lowest percentage of its budget dedicated to administrative expenses. And for every $1,000 Furkids accepts in donations, the organization places more pets into permanent homes than virtually every other organization. SmallDog Rescue & Humane Society was founded in 1995 by the late Brenda (Bren) Kyle, who rescued homeless dogs and cared for them in her home. She also convinced her friends to serve as foster caregivers. Bren took a few dogs at a time and sat in front of a willing merchant’s store, interviewing and screening people who were interested in adopting her rescued charges, matching people and pets. When she died in 2004, she willed the organization to Anne Stockton, who, with a new board of directors, built SDR into a full-fledged rescue organization: a 501(c)3 with a dog shelter and more than 100 volunteers.
“It is very exciting for Furkids to acquire such a professional, well-run dog rescue organization with a strong infrastructure and powerful presence in the community,” said Shelton. “Philosophically and operationally, our two organizations are well-matched. We are looking forward to continuing the work of SmallDog Rescue & Humane Society, and we welcome its dedicated volunteers and supporters as we all work together to rescue, care for and place homeless cats and dogs into loving homes.”
In the near term, Furkids and SmallDog Rescue will maintain separate but closely linked Websites and social media presences. Over time, the sites will be merged into one, singular presence. More information is available at www.furkids.org and www.smalldoghumane.org.
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Furkids is a 501(c)3, charitable, non-profit organization that operates the largest cage-free, no-kill shelter for homeless cats in Georgia and a no-kill shelter for dogs where they can experience the best care in a loving environment until they are adopted. Each year, Furkids rescues, shelters, sterilizes, rehabilitates, and places hundreds of animals in permanent, loving homes. The Furkids organization was founded in 2002 and acquired SmallDog Rescue & Humane Society in 2011.