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High price of animal welfare in Georgia

Since no one is formally tracking the financial impacts on the community associated with licensed and unlicensed breeding, 11Alive set out to assess costs on its own

ATLANTA — Georgia has more dogs than homes for them to live. The Reveal investigative reporter Rebecca Lindstrom wanted to know where licensed and unlicensed breeders fit into all of this.

As part of an ongoing investigation, The Reveal created a multi-question survey. 

For the survey, Lindstrom along with digital producer Lindsey Basye and several animal welfare advocates reached out to 366 private rescues licensed through the Georgia Department of Agriculture. 

Of those, 176 rescues responded to our survey. While most have no idea where the dogs in their care originated, 1,077 dogs were able to be linked directly to an unlicensed or licensed breeder in 2019. The total cost of care for those animals, added up to $1,068,610.

One example of the animals helped, were the German Shepherds in Montgomery and Candler counties. In early 2019, the breeder, Angela Powell, surrendered many of the 200 plus dogs found on her properties. This multi-impound case involved a network of government officials, animal rescue organizations and individuals to assist in the triage, vetting, transporting and re-homing of the animals. 

Our survey was able to identify the groups that took 105 of those animals. Through medical records and intake reports, we determined the average cost for that rescue was $3275 per animal.

More of The Reveal - Caged in Cruelty Investigation:

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Hidden in plain sight: Sick animals, a jawless dog and a system that missed them

USDA under fire for weakening dog breeder inspection guidelines

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'The woods, they hide so much': Animal Cruelty out of sight out of mind?

The furry faces of Pennsylvania animal cruelty laws

The Reveal is an investigative show exposing inequality, injustice, and ineptitude created by people in power throughout Georgia and across the country. It airs Sunday nights at 6 on 11Alive.