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Animal shelter full as soldiers deploy
Harper is just one of roughly 40 dogs housed at the Liberty Humane Shelter that need permanent homes. According to shelter workers and President Sandra Frye, there’s been an influx of pets being dropped off at the shelter by military personnel facing deployment.
Register for womanless pageant

The Liberty Humane Shelter is currently taking registrations for men interested in being  contestants in the womanless pageant. Men must be open to wearing women’s formal wear and apparel while strutting on stage to raise funds for the shelter. So far, Marty Martin and Jim Woods have signed up to be contestants.
The pageant will be at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, at Brewton-Parker College’s Auditorium. Advanced tickets are $5 and tickets at the door will be $7. For more information, call pageant organizer Stephany Woods at 545-2299, the shelter at 876-3647 or e-mail Anyone interested can pick up a registration packet at the shelter from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.
Some soldiers preparing to deploy are making arrangements for their families, but not so much for their pets.
The Liberty Humane Shelter reported a spike in the number of animals being surrendered by owners, citing deployment.
“Low ballpark figure is six to eight animals a day for the last
two weeks,” Liberty Humane Shelter President Sandra Frye said. “They (deploying soldiers) come in and demand that we take them.”
While the shelter does occasionally take pets surrendered by owners, Frye said the recent influx has pushed them beyond their limits.
“Our mission is to help the county try and place the animals that have been strayed or abandoned,” Frye said. “This does not mean animals that have loving homes where the owners did not make arrangement for their animals.”
Frye said she’s especially frustrated that many soldiers claim they weren’t notified they were being deployed, so they had no time to make arrangements for pets.
“I have made several phone calls in the last few days to Fort Stewart and they told me all the soldiers being deployed were given more than two weeks notice,” Frye said. “They’ve all had months’ notice. So everyone was being told they would be leaving in November or December but they waited until Oct. 30 to do something about their pets. I know there are a lot of responsible pet owners out there, but at this point, the irresponsible ones are outweighing those, based on what we’ve seen.”
Cari Ross, an employee at the shelter, said the shelter has seen a surge of homeless animals since deployments started. She said she understands if there is a legitimate reason an owner has to surrender a pet, but she said lately the excuses seem to stem from a lack of concern for the animals’ well being.
Frye said one couple came in to surrender two older dogs simply because the wife didn’t want to travel 11 hours in the car with them. Another woman refused to take her pet back home to Puerto Rico even though that’s where she originally got the dog, before coming to Hinesville.
“They definitely know a couple of weeks in advance that they are going to be deployed and they could, at the very least, call us and set up an appointment, not just come up here and expect to drop their dog off,” Ross said. “They get mad at us if we can’t or don’t take the dog right when they want us to take it. We’ve been trying to set up appointments for them on Mondays and that is not good enough for them.”
“They’ve made no prior arrangements whatsoever and they are using us as their catchall,” Frye said. “And we just don’t have the room.”
She said the shelter has roughly 40 dogs and puppies right now and at least 50 cats. At one point, the facility was ahead of the curve, adopting out animals as quickly as they pulled in rescues, but that has come to a standstill.
“Donations are down, membership is down, there is less money coming in and our adoptions are down,” Frye said. “But our population is up and we are in a bad situation. We had a huge influx and we can’t handle it.”
She said she called to Fort Stewart to let officials know what’s happening.
“I am waiting for some calls back, but I think they are in the same boat we are,” she said. “They are overwhelmed, they don’t know quite what to do or what to say about it but I do understand there was word put down to all the troops they need to start making better arrangements. They need to treat their pet like a family member. Right now, we are totally full and with the economy as bad as it is, we really can’t keep up with what we’ve got.”
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