Metro shelters tackle staggering rise in animal abuse cases

- As animal rescue groups seek justice for the pets abused in recent high-profile animal cases, the shelters that take in these victims note a staggering rise in the number of animal cruelty cases in the Metro.

"At Fulton, it's tripled-- the number of animal cruelty cases we get. We are really not sure why," said Karen Hirsch, the director for public relations of the Lifeline Animal Project, which manages the shelters for DeKalb and Fulton Counties. She said the rise of cases in Fulton County has occurred within the past year, reaching into the hundreds.

Within the past week, two cases in which Lifeline has worked to save the lives of abused animals have garnered national attention, with rewards totaling $15,000.

June 6, Milwood and Lorien, two beagle puppies, were discovered in Southeast Atlanta, on the brink of starvation. The Humane Society of the United States and Angels Among Us have pledged a total of $10,000 to find the culprits behind the neglect.

Also last week, a dog nicknamed "Lulu" was found in the Tucker area of DeKalb County, buried alive; though the dog was rescued, it did not survive the ordeal. The Humane Society of the United States has pledged $5,000 to anyone who helps police find those responsible.

"A lot of us are in tears," Hirsch said, as the staff at Lifeline care for the numerous animals with a range of injuries and wounds from abuse and neglect. "Starving animals who are tied up. We see animals who have burns on their back. We see ingrown collars," she said.

Lifeline Animal Project is working to clear the shelters of an influx of pets, partly due to the rise in animal abuse cases.

Throughout the month of June,  Lifeline will waive all fees for animals at the DeKalb County Animal Services Center, in the hopes of clearing 400 animals from the shelter. The facility is holding a major adoption event on June 17 to celebrate Father's Day. 

Fulton County's center offers fees waived for all animals who have been at the shelter for six weeks or more.

Anyone with information on the cases can contact DeKalb Police at 404-294-2645.

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