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DeKalb County Humane Society

decatur Animal Shelter

5287 Covington Highway
decatur, Georgia 30035
Phone: 770-593-1155
Fax: 770-593-9910
In March, 1966, Ann Bowcock, Mary Virginia Allen, Ann Hebert, Gilda Jones, Dr. M. Virginia Tuggle and Bob Evensen, six citizens concerned about the inhumane treatment of animals, founded DeKalb Humane Society (DHS). These founders were concerned about the large number of stray, abandoned and neglected animals that wandered the streets, highways and woods only to starve and die of disease and injury. From its inception, the organization’s mission was to foster the humane treatment of animals by educating the public, fostering unwanted pets and placing them in permanent homes, and curbing pet overpopulation by spaying or neutering all animals they placed for adoption.

DHS began as a branch of the Atlanta Humane Society, but in March 1968, it was incorporated as a stand alone organization. DHS operated as a network of enthusiastic volunteers who fostered unwanted animals in their homes and advertised animals available for adoption in a newspaper column donated by the Decatur-DeKalb News known as the "Pet Corner". A similar "Pet Corner" column appeared regularly in The DeKalb News Sun. In 1968 DHS reported finding permanent homes for 614 animals listed in its "Pet Corner" columns.

In 1969 DHS was instrumental in exposing the inhumane conditions at what was then known as the DeKalb County Dog Pound. The DHS Board of Directors invited a representative from The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to evaluate the conditions at the pound; the HSUS then sent a written report to the county commission and planning board. These efforts resulted in the enactment of an Animal Control Ordinance and the construction of a new facility currently known as DeKalb County Animal Control. DHS volunteers assisted Animal Control by working tirelessly answering phone calls, helping clean cages, feeding the animals, and saving unwanted animals by assisting animal control staff with adoptions.

By the end of the 1980s, DHS achieved its long-term strategic goal of building a shelter. In June 1983, DHS purchased three acres of land with a house on Covington Highway. By June 1988, ground was broken for construction, and in February 1989, the shelter opened to the public. In addition to running the shelter, DHS continued its initiative to educate the public by conducting humane education programs in schools and by publishing articles on responsible pet care in its newsletter, Paw Prints.

The 1990s welcomed the computerization of shelter operations, expansion of shelter staff and the development of a Web site to reach the broader population of metropolitan Atlanta. In 1997 DHS purchased additional property adjacent to the shelter, increasing its holdings to close to four acres.

By the year 2000, DHS acknowledged its place in the nationwide no-kill shelter movement and took the first steps toward building coalitions with other humane organizations. DHS has never placed a time limit on the animals who stay at the shelter and chooses euthanasia only as a last resort for animals whose disease, injury, or behavioral problems cannot be humanely treated.

In 2001, DHS established an onsite spay/neuter clinic and added a part-time veterinarian to the staff. Today, we continue to develop partnerships with surrounding animal control agencies and private animal welfare groups who foster stray and unwanted animals.

In 2004 DHS changed its name to PAWS Atlanta. As the oldest and largest no-kill animal shelter in the area we felt it was important that our name reflected our mission. As PAWS Atlanta we can make a bigger impact on the homeless pet problem in the metro Atlanta area. We’re already going to events in Atlanta, Marietta, Roswell, Alpharetta, Lawrenceville and Lithonia. We set up information booths, where we talk about pet overpopulation, spay/neuter and adopt pets at special events all over the metro area. As DHS many people thought we received funding from the county government and did not need support from the public, as PAWS Atlanta we can more effectively raise much needed support from the community.

In conjunction with this name change a major renovation of our Adoption Center was undertaken. Our Cat Cottage received new paint, lighting and furniture, and new exterior runs were constructed to allow our dogs to be outside as much as possible. The interior of the dog shelter was also painted and new cages were installed. Additional parking and lighting were provided to provide for the safety of Adoption Center visitors.

No pets found on this shelter

Directions and map

Note: PO Boxes will not show correctly on the map below.

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