LifeLine Animal Project Saves Lives

LifeLine Animal Project finds ways to help animals every day

LifeLine Animal Project

When LifeLine Animal Project launched in 2002, they created a website and recruited a handful of volunteers to photograph adoptable pets at county animal facilities in metro Atlanta.

During their first year of operation, LifeLine leased an old boarding kennel to give rescue groups low-cost boarding options. To reduce intake at the county facilities, they opened low-cost spay/neuter clinics in 2005 and 2010.

By 2011, they began to see some results. Intake rates at the county facilities dropped 20% and euthanasia rates dropped to 50%.

But the following year, euthanasia rates crept back up to 65%. “That wasn’t acceptable,” says Guinn. “We realized that if we wanted to save lives, we might actually have to run these county shelters ourselves.”

"We just wanted to save lives. Few people knew these county shelters existed and we wanted to help pets get adopted."

Group makes bold decision to save lives

In 2013, LifeLine bid on the Fulton County Animal Services and the DeKalb County Animal Shelter contracts – two open admission shelters with high euthanasia rates. They had no experience operating a county animal shelter, but believed they had the “right stuff,” Guinn says, “to get the job done.”

To their surprise, they won both contracts and had to quickly get down to the business of saving lives, which included, hiring all new staff, launching programs from scratch, and building websites and social media platforms to reach the community.

“Every day, we think about ways to really make a difference for animals – and then we figure out how to do it,” says Guinn.

Largest investment ever keeps momentum going

Today, LifeLine’s impact in the community is almost staggering. With more than 160 staff, they operate some of the largest lifesaving programs in the Atlanta area.

They handle more than 16,000 dogs and cats at their two open admission facilities, cat-only adoption center and five cat habitats at area Petco stores – and sterilize more than 15,000 dogs and cats annually. Their rescue boarding facility is now a place where at-risk dogs and cats from county shelters can recover from illness or injuries or receive behavioral training, if needed, before adoption.

All this while achieving 90% lifesaving rates.

“We take pride in investing in organizations that make the most significant lifesaving impact possible with their resources,” said Susanne Kogut, Executive Director of the Petco Foundation. “We often say it isn’t about pretty buildings or fancy programs, it’s about investing in those organizations that have big hearts; well-run organizations driven by their love for animals to save as many lives as possible. LifeLine is a great example of an organization committed to saving Atlanta’s animals and we are honored to support their work.”

In 2015, the Petco Foundation invested $1.5 million in LifeLine to be awarded over the next three years – the largest investment ever made by the Foundation. Through this Petco Foundation partnership, LifeLine plans to add more adoption counselors, behaviorists, and foster care coordinators to sustain and grow their lifesaving programs. They also launched #20KSmiles this year – a marketing program to attract 20,000 new homes for dogs and cats by 2018.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with the Petco Foundation,” says Guinn. “Their investment in us affirms our work and motivates us to keep doing more to help animals every day. We’re just getting started.”