Blue Ridge, Ga. – Volunteers and staff welcomed visitors to the Fannin County Animal Control (FCAC) facility on Saturday Oct. 27 to showcase the positive improvements being done and of course, the wonderful dogs being housed there.
It was a crowded house as residents and visitors got to peek inside the FCAC facility and speak with the staff and volunteers about ways they can contribute to this community service.
This year the facility has seen upgrades in the likes of outdoor runs attached to the indoor kennel areas. The Fannin County Board of Commissioners approved funding for this project after speaking with FCAC Department Head John Drullinger on the impact this addition would have not only on staff safety but also for the quality of life of the animals.
“It makes such a difference for the dog’s quality of life,” Drullinger said explaining the changes he has witnessed since the outdoor runs were added. “They get more fresh air and it gives us a better ability for cleaning and sterilizing the inside part.”
Beyond improvements to the building itself, the recent movement of community volunteers taking action to help out in anyway that they can has had major impacts.
Volunteers come on a daily basis to walk dogs, clean kennels, and offer services in their areas of expertise. Some choose to take photos to help spread the word via social media about the adoptable animals at FCAC and others have even proposed using their artistic skills by offering to create a mural at the facility.
“It’s a great help. It’s huge,” Drullinger spoke of the volunteers,”We’re getting a lot of volunteers. Our group keeps growing.”
Patrice Noble Epps is one of the volunteers that loves spending her time working with the animals and crew of FCAC.
“If the animals didn’t have this place, they would be out on the streets,” Noble Epps said speaking of what motivates her to volunteer, “and ultimately they would die.”
A self-professed cleaning fanatic, Noble Epps says that while she enjoys working one on one with the dogs, she also loves to help with cleaning at the facility: “If you want something done, do it yourself and maybe people will follow.”
Noble Epps spoke of the ease in which she has been able to work with Fannin County staff to bring about changes and to focus on more improvements in the future: “I think you always have to have a good relationship with the people that you are going into their house.”
The volunteers and staff have been working together to create more changes, both Drullinger and Noble Epps spoke of the recent addition of a sponsorship program.
This program accepts monetary donations from the public and these donations are being used to vet the dogs at the shelter. Vetting includes spay/neuter, heartworm testing, rabies vaccination, and microchipping.
During the open house several residents stepped up to donate to this program and sponsor the dogs.
Noble Epps would also like to see donations provide training for the shelter dogs being adopted.
“You could adopt the dog and then you go and you have a training class where you learn how to handle a shelter dog,” Noble Epps explained how the option of a training class would work and stressed that the dogs that have been there the longest would benefit the most.
Another improvement that seems to be on the horizon for the FCAC facility is the addition of an onsite outdoor play area for the shelter dogs. This area will be modeled similar to the dog park that is currently offered by the Humane Society of Blue Ridge, but be used by FCAC dogs only.
“It’s not guaranteed, but it’s in the works,” Drullinger spoke of the possible addition, “it’s on the drawing table and that’s the first step.”
Noble Epps summed up her feelings about volunteering with FCAC: “It’s what we have. Work with it. If you want to make it better, make it better.”
And making it better she has, as well as all the other volunteers who have donated their time and talents.
There is no denying the excitement and enthusiasm that is being brought to FCAC through the volunteers and the building upgrades. It is the hopes of all involved that this positive momentum will continue to increase well into the future.
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Fannin County Young Farmer Advisor Rhonda Mathews and 5 Fannin County High School Agriculture students volunteered at the Fannin County Family Connection Food Pantry on November 15. There was much work to be done and many families to serve. Students who participated were Ryan Smith, Jay Masters, Ashley Frye, Rachel Mashburn and Layne Epperson. The students agreed they would like to volunteer again and had a great experience.
Dr. Gilda Lyon, Retired STEM Coordinator for the Georgia Department of Education, will be leading scientific research groups at West Fannin Elementary this year. Dr. Lyon has graciously volunteered to spend time each week with our students. This is a wonderful opportunity to challenge students’ critical thinking by allowing them to investigate problems, collect data, search for solutions, make observations, ask questions, test out ideas, and think creatively.
Appalachian CASA is pleased to recognize Catherine Sugg as Court Appointed Special Advocate of the Year for 2016.
Catherine Sugg has been with CASA of the Appalachian Judicial Circuit going on three years where she has zealously served as advocate for eight cases, serving seventeen children!
As a retired career professional with a Master’s Degree in Applied Anthropology, Catherine impacts the lives of others with encouragement and enthusiasm. Professionalism, regard to detail, weighing out situations before reacting are just a few attributes Catherine possesses. Other attributes that come to mind are Catherine’s willingness to give of her time and to make a difference to the people she meets. She is kind, calm, compassionate, patient and has a heart for not just children, but all people that come into her life. Keeping all parties well informed is part of her normal routine in the diligent effort she gives on all of her cases.
Keeping timelines in mind, she makes sure that court orders are followed and if not, brings it back to the attention of the court. Many new CASAs sit next to Catherine in court as she is viewed as a mentor to others.
She serves as Fannin County Family Connections Chair and is recognized as a leader in her community; and is respected for her ability to develop, implement, and evaluate the needs and challenges facing Georgia’s children and families.
She is our number one recruiter for new volunteers…she knows how to ‘tell the CASA story’ with sincerity and urgency. As an adoptive mother of five, she has a personal interest in ‘all children having a safe, loving and permanent home’!
Congratulations Catherine for all you do!
You can join Catherine as CASA Volunteer. CASA of the Appalachian Judicial Circuit is looking for volunteers who would be willing to take on the task of representing abused and neglected children who have been emotionally, physically or sexually abused and do not have anyone that will look after their best interest as the court determines what is best for the child. In this Judicial Circuit, the number of new cases entering the system has continued to increase, thus creating a need for more CASA Volunteers. If you are interested in finding out more about our program and how to become a CASA volunteer, contact our Advocacy Coordinator, Melanie Davis at 706.515.2700 or via email mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fannin County Fire Department gets a new Ford F350 4WD vehicle and Fire Chief Larry Thomas described the truck as “much needed.” Volunteers raised the funds to purchase the vehicle which will be used at Mineral Bluff at Fire Station #2. Thomas told us the Fire Station #2 had one 4 wheel drive unit but this one is smaller and will make things easier.
Much needed equipment is generally purchased through the budget, however volunteers raised donations for this purchase. Chief Larry Thomas has been Fire Chief with Fannin County for almost 15 years. Thomas wanted to thank the Committee who worked so hard, the volunteers who worked equally hard, and all the folks who donated to raise the funds.
Please remember the BBQ Benefit – Live Music – November 14th 2015 11am – 3pm at The Community Hall in Epworth, Georgia $7 per ticket. Proceeds will go toward the purchase of the Fire/Rescue Truck for Fannin County Fire Department. Sponsored by: Tri-State Methodist Men. Fannin Fire Department will be doing Car Seat Safety Check, Life Force will be there, and Sparky!