PAWS Atlanta History

51 years of saving lives

In Georgia, many animal control departments are overwhelmed and have extremely high euthanasia rates. Over 50 years ago, in 1964, ordinary caring citizens—teachers, homemakers, business people—came together and said that there must be a better way, and asked the question, 

What can we do to make a difference?

Together, they rolled up their sleeves and began to raise money. Through bake sales, car washes, yard sales, and other fundraising—little by little—they raised the money they needed to purchase a property and home (our current location). Here, as a completely volunteer-run independent organization, they started the DeKalb Humane Society (incorporated in 1966) with the overriding philosophy that it would be a no-kill shelter, where every animal would stay until they could find a new home. Over the years, new buildings were added and an adjacent property was purchased. In 2002, we changed our name to PAWS Atlanta. As an independent organization, we are Georgia’s oldest no-kill animal shelter—finding homes for over 46,000 animals—and for over 50 years we have been working hard in our community to care for animals in need and entrust them into loving families. 

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