GARD's No-Kill Philosophy

Joy and CocoGARD Inc. represents itself as a no-kill shelter.  In the interest of clarity and transparency, we thought it would be helpful to elucidate this designation as to what it entails and what it does not entail.

There are numerous no-kill philosophies in existence and we have always subscribed to the one that is most in concert with the realities which daily confront us. There are some who equate no-kill with never-kill and, although never-kill shelters do exist, they are very rare and are always blessed with unlimited resources, both monetary and human. Far more common is the philosophy that no-kill refers to adoptable dogs and this is GARD's standard operating practice. The licensing requirements imposed by the state of Georgia dictate that we cannot keep an aggressive dog. This alone excludes us from the never-kill mentality as it is not uncommon to find aggressive dogs dropped off here in the wee hours of the morning (we have installed infrared security cameras to discourage this practice). Much more common is the stark reality that dogs have to be adopted to make room for new arrivals who otherwise would be placed in the county landfills instead. If we were to fill the shelter to capacity with unadoptable dogs, it would doom hundreds of adoptable dogs to euthanasia at the hands of county animal control units and we would be nothing more than glorified hoarders. Being animal lovers, it is a heartbreaking and often tearful experience to make the hard decisions that must be made to promote the greater good but the reality is that no-kill shelters do , from time to time, have to euthanize animals. Our goal is to use what limited resources that are available to us to accomplish the greatest beneficial effect.

That being said, in practice we go far beyond our self-imposed restrictions and also operate, within our capability, as a sanctuary for scores of unadoptable dogs. As long as this practice does not impair our ability to operate our shelter at 100% capacity it is justifiable and certainly much easier than the alternative. Visitors here will meet many dogs that live here but are not, for one reason or another, adoptable. Many are older dogs who have lived a life of deprivation and misery and live out their few remaining weeks or months finally experiencing what it is like to have a family and be valued. Others have behavioral quirks that render them unfit to offer to the general public. We have a houseful of them and they're good as gold for us but not anywhere else. They too will live out their days here as valued family members.

Given our own personal sensibilities, we would much prefer to be a never-kill shelter but GARD is totally reliant on support from the general public and can only operate within the constraints of the resources available to us. Your contributions to our efforts will help to ensure that more companion animals are given an opportunity to have a "life worth living". We have here, at the facility, approximately 16 more acres of undeveloped land which could be utilized, but lies at the moment, unused for lack of resources. You, the reader, have the opportunity to help bring GARD closer to the never-kill ideology through your contributions to our mission. Our website delineates numerous ways to help and you are always welcome to call or email to offer your assistance.