GARD’s mission is to reduce the number of dogs and cats being killed in shelters by promoting spaying and neutering, educating the public, and by rescuing abandoned, abused, or neglected companion animals from high kill shelters and finding them loving permanent homes.
Here at GARD, we try to take a common sense approach to our animals and the responsibilities that they incur. We recognize that wildlife issues are entirely different from those of domestic animals and even among domestics one must differentiate between livestock and what we would call pets. The focus of our organization is directed toward this latter sector and the philosophy and standards that we apply to this group are not intended as an attempt on our part to alter the natural order of the animal kingdom. We believe that the stewardship of those animals we refer to as pets, whose long-term relationship to man and even their genetic makeup render them incapable of surviving unaided in the natural animal hierarchy and thus, reliant on us, requires a set of standards and commensurate responsibilities that are altogether different than what would be beneficial, or even prudent, for other classes. Although we tend to anthropomorphize a bit when it comes to the pets in our personal lives, we will refrain from doing so here. The fact remains that most of the animals that fall under the description of pet have needs that cannot be met by food, water and medical care alone. It is with this concept in our hearts and minds that we focus on the idea of our pets having a life worth living and we seek to make that happen. Most of us feel badly when we see an animal killed in the road, but tend to focus less on the ones that spend their lives without the benefit of human companionship and love. Therefore, we must include in our rescue not just the homeless and feral, but the neglected and abused as well.
On the one hand, we are dealing with the immediate and pressing needs of the homeless pets that abound both in our neighborhoods and shelters and it is this pursuit that consumes the lion’s share of our resources. Equally important are the quality of life issues that fall under the scope of our stewardship. This goes beyond the day-to-day treatment that an animal receives and encompasses our entire philosophy of how we treat the group as a whole. Thinking along these lines, one cannot look at the means by which we currently manage the size of the population of feral and homeless animals, primarily trapping and euthanasia, without getting the feeling that we are falling short of exercising our stewardship in the most beneficial manner. Fortunately, more effective, efficient and humane methods have been employed by others with great success. The state of Vermont, where we lived until recently, along with others have promoted low cost spay/neuter clinics through organizations such as ours to the effect that they have achieved a level of population control that is not dependent on killing animals. To be real here, not all animals can be saved. Aggressive, dangerous animals or those beyond practical medical intervention are still euthanized, but most can be saved and go on to lead lives worth living. We strive to introduce and promote such a model here in Bryan County to serve as a model for other Georgia (and beyond) counties and demonstrate that it not only works, but does so in a cost-effective, humane manner. Lastly, we devote some of our resources to promoting awareness of issues that relate to the quality of life of pets. This site includes material related to health, well-being and happiness. Please feel free to send us any links that you feel would be of value and we will try to include them. We also provide community outreach programs through schools and civic groups when requested.
That said, our efforts alone cannot possibly achieve all of this. Since we first began our rescue efforts, we have had numerous offers of assistance in the form of time, money and useful items. We have likewise had scores of offers for both permanent and foster care homes. Organizing and incorporating as Georgia Animal Rescue and Defence provides a mechanism by which we can create a structure that is capable of effectively utilizing these valuable resources to their full potential.