(From left) Brittany Wells, a Fort Valley State University sophomore veterinary technology major and Kayla Crawford, a FVSU sophomore veterinary science major, have their hands full with a playful pooch from the Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare Shelter at FVSU’s State Animal Facility for Emergencies (SAFE) Center Oct. 23.
Fort Valley State University briefly provided 27 pets in waiting a home while an unexpected illness came into contact with the animals.
The Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare Shelter brought 19 dogs and eight cats to be temporarily housed in FVSU’s State Animal Facility for Emergencies (SAFE) Center Oct. 23-27. Macon-Bibb County used the facility while its shelter was being cleaned due to an undiagnosed disease infecting some animals, causing it to be quarantined.
The SAFE Center, which opened in September, 2012, can house 105 dogs, 80 cats and 30 horses in its 7,500 square foot area. It is designed to temporarily house animals in cases of manmade or natural disasters.
Darryl Watts, senior officer for animal control at the Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare Shelter, said the office contacted Dr. George McCommon, director of FVSU’s SAFE Center, about the availability of the facility. He said the center was selected because of its close proximity to Macon, and its ability to handle the animals efficiently. “It’s clean and it’s arranged where you can get to your animals without stepping over everything, and it has a lot of space as well,” Watts said.
McCommon said it was ideal that FVSU’s SAFE Center was selected to help the Macon-Bibb County animal shelter. “This is a reat opportunity for Fort Valley to be a good steward for the surrounding communities,” McCommon said.
He also said that temporary housing of the animals at the SAFE Center presented a learning opportunity for more than 25 students in the veterinary sciences and technology programs. “This has been great for the students. They are getting to see how to run a shelter, and they are getting to see all of the things that need to be done to get a shelter going,” McCommon said. McCommon, who is also head of the department of veterinary sciences and public health, added that there is no substitute for hands on experience. He said the students will learn that everyday tasks, such as feeding the animals, need to be done efficiently.
Kayla Crawford, a sophomore veterinary science major from Kathleen, is very excited about the opportunity to work with animals in a “real time” situation. “It’s the best thing I could ever do. It’s just helping animals, which is something that I always wanted to do when I was younger,” Crawford said.
“I’ve always loved animals. I wanted to pursue that love by helping animals that needed that second chance that no one else would give them,” Crawford said. She says that after she graduates from FVSU, she plans to work at an animal shelter or open her own shelter to help animals.
For more information about the veterinary science programs or the SAFE Center, contact McCommon at (478) 825- 6424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.