Buckhead resident Ginny Millner cannot adopt enough animals.
This problem stems not only from her love for cats and dogs, which she prefers over people, but also out of genuine concern. The overpopulation of unwanted pets has become an epidemic, according to Millner, who founded Fix Georgia Pets last March, an umbrella organization which aims to raise money to fund organizations that spay and neuter cats and dogs.
In addition to donating money to animal shelters that spay and neuter, Fix Georgia Pets also seeks to educate Georgians about the benefits of spaying and neutering. For instance, one cat can produce as many as 1600 kittens. “It is much cheaper to spay or neuter an animal than to euthanize it. It would save the state taxpayer money,” said Millner.
Georgia has 17 shelters that spay and neuter animals. Fix Georgia Pets aims to raise and donate $5,000 to each one, to help make a dent in Georgia’s pet overpopulation.
“We need to do 80,000 animals to make a difference,” said Millner. According to the organization’s website, 300,000 unwanted dogs and cats are put to death in Georgia each year. Millner also cited a demand for cats and dogs in northern states like Connecticut, New Hampshire and New Jersey, which she hopes her organization can eventually help with.
Millner explained that the consequence of pet overpopulation goes beyond the unwanted animals — abandoned animals often become feral, causing them to run wild and bite people, especially children. In this way, Fix Georgia Pets is as much about promoting safety as it is reducing the number of unwanted pets.
The problems associated with animal overpopulation seem to be cyclical. Abandoned or unwanted pets are frequently abused, which makes them less likely to be adopted and more likely to reproduce, Millner said.
The group has a board of five people and additional advisers to help with fundraising. In the short term, Fix Georgia Pets is encouraging donations from companies, who would give in the name of their employees’ dogs and cats. It also wants to host parties at which donors would see and interact with animals they had helped. On July 27, Fix Georgia Pets will have a fundraiser at on Roswell Road, at which singer and actress from M*A*S*H Sally Kellerman will perform.
In the long term, Millner wants to spread her organization throughout the state. “We have to do this for the sake of Georgia,” she said.