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Fundraiser Held for Overcrowded Animal Shelters

By Natalie Potts
By npotts@wbbjtv.com

West Tennessee animal shelters are struggling to survive due to the shelters being overcrowded with limited resources, according to animal rescue groups.

Shelters said their volunteers are now finding it difficult to keep up with the increasing number of pets dumped in West Tennessee every day.

Local organizations partnered with Randolph's Green House and The Bank of Jackson Sunday in their Fourth Annual Garden Affair fundraiser to bring relief and raise awareness to an issue animal rescue workers have been battling for years.

"They are just overcrowded, there is such a stray problem," said Debbie Lownsdale, a volunteer with Friends of Gibson Co. Animal Rescue.

Rescuers believe an overpopulation problem is now getting out of hand in West Tennessee.

"I get calls at least three times every day, " said Elizabeth Wade, KEG Animal Rescue.

Now local organizations are hopeful the fundraiser raises awareness for animals that have nowhere to go.

"Dogs get dropped off at their gates, on their street, or even tied to their fences," said Rita Randolph, event organizer.

Pets that are dropped off in a shelter that is overpopulated with limited resources, is a recurring theme volunteers said they cannot rise above.

"At my house right now there are 22 dogs, 4 of them are mine. The rest of them are rescue dogs," said Wade.

Animal rescue workers believe their biggest issues are now with residents who think they are helping, but are instead hurting their rescue efforts.

"Most of our rescues are dogs that either have been dumped in the country because people don't want to be bothered with taking care of them," said Lownsdale.

"They will take them out on the country road and will toss them out. They figure at least they will have a chance out there," said Wade.

Placing pets anywhere but a shelter hurts the animals' chances of survival, workers said.

"If you throw a dog out, or you're not willing to keep a dog for a week while we try and work with you, we have no chance," said Wade.

Second chances to be man's best friends are what these animals have been waiting for, said rescue groups.

Placing animals in homes is a goal rescue groups said they believe is possible with events that raise awareness.

Sunday's event raised more than $5,000 that will be divided equally among shelters here in West Tennessee.

To donate to this cause, visit your local "Bank of Jackson" and mention their Animal Rescue Fund.