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Photo Contributed by Catoosa County / Catoosa County Animal Control Senior Officer Willie Brogdon releases a dog for adoption.

Starting next month, Catoosa County Animal Control will no longer offer animal adoption services on Saturdays.

Catoosa County Animal Control Director Sheree Horton said support from the community as well as partnerships with several animal rescue groups and weekday adoptions have significantly reduced the animal population at the shelter. Weekend adoptions have been less successful, she said, and the county can no longer support keeping the shelter open on Saturdays.

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"While we regret our decision to discontinue Saturday adoptions, the very low number of adoptions on weekends does not support the need to staff our animal shelter six days a week," Horton said. "We will continue to offer high-quality animal services, including adoption, Monday through Friday and after hours for on-call emergency response."

Catoosa County spokesperson John Pless said 194 pets were adopted from Catoosa County Animal Control and 471 pets were sent to certified rescue organizations on weekdays in 2020.

By comparison, 23 adoptions were made on Saturdays during that year.

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So far for 2021, Pless said there have been 214 adoptions and 319 rescues made during the week. On Saturdays, there have been nine adoptions.

"That's less than one adoption a month," he said. "We've had 72 visitors on Saturdays this year and anecdotally I can tell you the overwhelming majority of those are people stopping by on the way to the landfill who let their kids pet the animals but don't adopt them and take them home."

Pless said that staff are paid overtime to work on Saturdays, which makes justifying keeping doors open on Saturdays all the more difficult.

"The numbers aren't there right now to support keeping the facility staffed and open on the weekends," he said.

It is $60 to adopt a cat or dog at the Catoosa County Animal Control shelter. That price includes the cost of a spay/neuter and a wellness checkup.

The shelter is at 101 Allmond Trail in Ringgold and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

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For more information, call 706-935-2454, visit catoosa.com or check out the Catoosa County Animal Control Facebook page.

Contact Kelcey Caulder at kcaulder@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327. Follow her on Twitter @kelceycaulder.

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