In 1941, the Forsyth Humane Society [FHS] was founded and has acted as an advocate for the unwanted and uncared-for cats and dogs in our community. Although the FHS has made great strides at their facility in assisting cats and dogs in finding their forever homes, there are still many that go unadopted in our county. To increase the save rate for shelter animals in Forsyth County from 36% to 90% by the year 2023, FHS has assumed care of the cats and dogs at the county shelter, as of January 8, 2018. FHS is overseeing the intake, sheltering, care, fostering and adoption of the cats and dogs at the shelter. From the outside, this may seem like quite a task to undertake, but Sarah Williamson, Executive Director of Forsyth Humane Society, believes it is achievable with the organizations that are in place currently, all working together for the same goal.
“Our goal is to bring the euthanasia rate in Forsyth County down from 64% to 10% in the next five years. It is doable and has been done in other parts of the country from Los Angeles, CA, to Austin, TX and Richmond, VA. Closer to home, Asheville, NC once had a euthanasia rate of
80% and now it is below 10%. We aren’t taking this on ill-advised; we are educating ourselves about what has worked in these other areas and putting those ideas to work in our community, with many other groups, including local rescues, to make this successful,” said Sarah.
With the now two locations for the FHS, 4881 Country Club Road, and 5570 Sturmer Park
Circle, known as FHS University North, both in Winston-Salem, NC, intake of animals as strays or owner surrenders will take place at the FHS University North location. “Between the two locations, we have 300 beds available for cats and dogs, combined. To better manage our number of beds, we are asking that owners who need to surrender their pets do so by appointment. Many times, a cat or dog comes to us because of a change in a family or a job issue and if the owner could give us a little time, the animal’s chances of finding a home increases. There are also resources available, if there is, for example, a financial strain, free food is available, some vet services are offered, and low-cost rabies clinics are also available. People just need to know that there are ways to help them keep their animals if that is an option,” Sarah commented. With so much going on at the two locations, Sarah said that the work of the FHS couldn’t be accomplished without the volunteers who do many jobs to further the cause.
“There are so many ways our volunteers help us every day. From fostering animals, which gives us extra beds to take in more animals, to transporting animals to other areas or states for adoption, to walking dogs, loving the cats, cleaning the facility, greeting visitors and working with prospective adopters, doing laundry…nothing would be possible without our volunteers. Each day we staff 60 volunteer hours, and the volunteers can go online and schedule the time they have to give. Some volunteers help by donating food, toys, leashes and cleaning supplies. We have volunteers from every age and time of life. For children who are under 16 years old, we have a program where they can volunteer with their parents starting at age 12. It’s rewarding to see an animal leave us for his forever home, it’s why we do what we do,” stated Sarah.
Doing what they do not only takes volunteers, but donations and funds raised by community events like the Mutt Strut 5K. “Our 3rd Annual Mutt Strut 5K is a sanctioned, timed race, which is also a family and dog-friendly event. Last year we had over 300 runners/walkers, over 150 dogs and one brave cat participate in this event. We raised $26,000, helping with our operating expenses, including the care and feeding of the cats and dogs. This year we are thrilled to have Bob King Automotive as our presenting sponsor and the continued support of the Town of Lewisville. It’s a great way to have fun with your family and friends, 2- and 4-legged, some who started their journey with us, support Forsyth Humane Society so we can continue to do what we love. Run-Walk-Save the Animals,” Beryl Parks, Event and Development Coordinator said.