Mission, Vision, and Philosophy
Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye Terrier who became known in 19th-century Edinburgh for supposedly spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner until he died himself on 14 January 1872.
What Drives Us
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.
Our Vision & Philosophy
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.
Two poodle mixes GARD rescued from a puppy mill.
Our No-Kill Philosophy
GARD 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.
Victor Tetreault – Chairman of the Board/Director
Joy Bohannon – President/Director
Jet Tetreault – Director
Jackson “problem dog” Tetreault – Chief Canine Officer (CCO)
The above individuals can be reached by mail, Georgia Animal Rescue & Defence, Inc., 100 Dichroic Dragon Drive, Pembroke, GA 31321, or by emailing CONTACT@GARDonline.org .
You can view our IRS 990’s by request.
Phone & Email
PH: (please email us)
By Appointment Only
100 Dichroic Dragon Dr.
Pembroke, GA 31321
Take I-16 to Exit 137 (Hwy. 119). Go south towards Pembroke, GA. We are 2.3 miles on the left.