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'It's just a nicer place': Bibb animal shelter out of probationary period after upgrades

The Georgia Department of Agriculture closed the shelter in 2019 after an inspection. The Bibb Sheriff's Office took over months later.

MACON, Ga. — Bibb County's animal shelter is celebrating a big milestone.

Three years ago, the state shut them down for overcrowding. A few months later, the Bibb County Sheriff's Office took over with some renovations and policy changes. 

Now, they're officially out of their probationary period.

Major Chris Patterson with the sheriff's office says those renovations cost them more than $100,000. It covers new kennels, and something Patterson calls 'cat condos.'

"Department of Agriculture effectively shut it down," Patterson recalled. "It was reopened under control by the sheriff's office, as well as with a consent order from the Department of Agriculture."

That was in October 2019. An inspection noted overcrowding and maintenance issues like dirty vents, clogged drains and cage doors that were chewed through. The consent order gave them a blueprint to fix things up.

"Part of that was upgrading kennels, which we did," he said.

The old kennels were two rows stacked on top of each other. Now, the pups have more space to bark about.

"It's just a nicer place, so the dogs have more freedom to move around in each one of those kennel areas," Patterson said.

The cats pretty much have it made. Each 'cat condo' has several tiny rooms the cats can go into. 

Patterson says now that they've gotten through the consent order, they plan to keep things clean and tidy.

"It's worked really, pretty well, and I think it's been a success," he said.

Patterson says because they're no longer under the consent order, it also means they don't have to follow the Georgia Department of Agriculture's guidelines anymore. 

That said, he says they're still going to keep them around because the guidelines have been working for them.

The shelter's legal capacity is 80 dogs and 40 cats. They plan to keep those numbers. When the state shut the shelter down, they were 50 animals over capacity.


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