MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - A couple who has devoted their lives finding homes for rescue dogs across the country recently offered their services to the Mobile County Animal Shelter free of charge. However, Shane and Janet Smith said the county administration denied their offer.
The pair said with the program the county grants a seven day pardon, declaring no dogs will be euthanized at the shelter. During that time, they use their organization "Paws for Hope and Faith" to network with their contacts across the nation to find the dogs permanent homes.
They said using this method, they've placed thousands of dogs in "furever" homes.
Founder of The Safe Haven Animal Care Kennel Robbie Fitzgerald brought the group in from Georgia. She has been following their progress for some time.
"I'm looking at Shane's page today, and everything is so positive. And one of the other counties he's done, they were on a one week pardon, and now they are almost five months and 140 dogs later. And they are still euthanasia free," said Fitzgerald.
She was hoping to bring that success to the dogs in the Mobile County Animal Shelter.
"I was thinking outside the box. Thinking what can we do to help these dogs in Mobile County, and I've been watching Shane's Page and I'm like, ‘I'm going to get him down here,'" said Fitzgerald.
FOX10 News sat down with Shane and Janet, who have become celebrities in the animal rescue world. They started their work after they adopted a dog that had been brutally mutilated. Her name was Hope and she died at the hands of animal cruelty.
"When Hope passed away we redirected ourselves to this," said Shane Smith.
The program, free of charge, gets local governments to stop euthanasia for a week while "Paws for Hope and Faith" network the pups and find them ‘furever' homes through their partners across the country.
"Everywhere we've been, we've cleared the shelter and when we leave and go to a new shelter to do another pardon, some of the network stays behind so it opens up new avenues," said Smith.
They met with Mobile County administrators October 28. Fitzgerald was optimistic.
"They've had so much success with the ones they've done, it's like how could you not," said Fitzgerald.
They received word by email Tuesday, November 6. The county was not going to accept their help. It said in part:
"We have reviewed your pardon program and have come to the conclusion that this is not the right program for Mobile County Animal Shelter."
Smith said that was the only explanation they received and Fitzgerald, who spent her time and money bringing them in, didn't even get contacted.
"I was a little shocked, hurt, because you know we want the best for Mobile County and the dogs that are in Mobile County. I kind of had a feeling because Mobile County's still not thinking outside the box as much," said Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald is most upset for the animals, who rescue groups struggle to find homes for every day.
"I think they missed out on an opportunity for the present and the future," said Fitzgerald.
Smith said the challenge for the county is that there are just too many dogs, not enough homes locally.
"When you have a high number coming into a shelter it's hard to adopt them out into the same town and since were nationwide we share the network," said Smith.
Without that network, the shelter still faces challenges getting animals adopted, and may continue to have a high kill rate.
FOX10 News tried to contact the County for comment, but our calls were not returned.
More than a dozen people were in line when the doors opened at the Creola Senior Center Tuesday morning. Voters will decide today if they want to annex into the city of Saraland.
The Mobile City Council voted unanimously to lay over a vote on a temporary moratorium on the issuance of building permits and other land use permits for construction or development involving oil or petroleum storage tanks on property in …
Mobile Police are investigating an apparent shooting that left two people dead and one person injured. Witnesses said it happened around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Campus Quarters Apartments on University Boulevard.
New historical markers are going up in Montgomery to document the city's leading role in the slave trade before the Civil War.
Temps Falling but the Sky will be Clearing as Well throughout the Day....
World leaders and joyous, singing South Africans honored Nelson Mandela on Tuesday at a rainy Soweto soccer stadium where U.S. President Barack Obama praised him as a "giant of history" and the last great liberator of the 20th century.