Designed for shelters, just not this one. is an online database of adoptable pets in the care of about 13,000 animal welfare organizations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. At this time, Petfinder is responsible for finding homes for approximately 2.5 million pets each year.

Trying to get Columbus Animal Control to start a PetFinder page has been proving an impossible task. I won’t go down the list of excuses they made, but the best one was that they just couldn’t understand it (in other words, “we just aren’t smart enough“). I don’t know WHY they refused to start a PetFinder account, despite having people volunteering their time to keep it updated, but they did. They wouldn’t do it, and they didn’t want us do it.

Finally, since we kept badgering them, an employee (most likely in frustration) told us to go ahead and do it, so an account was finally started by a third party. A volunteer that had been donating her time and efforts keeping it updated, and it had been proving to work! She was getting inquiries about Columbus pets, and the animals were getting exposure on the largest online adoption search engines, while the city itself was not providing any. Then this happened…

 “I was contacted this morning by Drale Short. I will no longer be doing petfinder for Columbus Georgia Animal Control. She had told me previously she was going to get me written approval at her meeting to do the petfinder, but now she said she was correct and that an individual cannot run a website for a private government without permission. She is shutting down my account at petfinder. I am upset about this as I have enjoyed doing it and also I think it has greatly helped the adoptions. In fact, I found out yesterday the adoption of the Jack Russell this week was due to petfinder.”

There’s no arguing that PetFinder could be much more effective if updated from Columbus Animal Control, which is why we had been asking for MONTHS for them to activate an account themselves. They wouldn’t do it, so we did, and it works.

Why didn’t Animal Control like PetFinder being used? Was it because they were getting flooded with calls about animals that had been either dead or gone? Or because the animals were given names on PetFinder (a luxory denied by the staff at AC) and this caused confusion with potential adopters over the phone?

According to the volunteer that was updating the PetFinder account, “I did give them names but I also listed their tag numbers right beside them”. “Also if it was such a headache for people calling in about Susie could they not say ‘Do you know what tag number Susie is?’ and that would take care of the problem, would it not?”

Was it because of the urgency expressed on the PetFinder posts made AC look bad by telling people that these animals will be killed? “Drale had already made me remove my post about the pets being URGENT and being put down if not adopted the first week I did petfinder. She said ‘That’s not always true.’ and asked me to take everything about the ‘killing’ off the page except for I could leave the Please save me part in the ad.”

When the Mayor was asked about PetFinder, she responded that the city does list pets on PetFinder, but does not allow 3rd parties control of that process. But when asked why the volunteer-run PetFinder account was shut down, Drale Short stated, “As we continue to grow, on-line, I am sure we will eventually open a Petfinder Account and we will have the resources available to manage this account.”

The resources are here, and we’re already managing the account. What sort of crazy backwards city do we live in?

Fact is, there is NO reason for them to dicontinue something that was obviously helping save animals. Even IF they were planning on starting the new PetFinder page, why would they make us discontinue one of the ONLY things that was helping to get them out alive? If it were causing problems, why wouldn’t they just provide us with the information that they wanted, to help make the page as effective as possible?

This was just posted to their facebook page, “Just so everyone knows… PETFINDER was not done away with, It was not deleted, Our Chief is working directly with Petfinder to be able to have realtime postings of our animals, linking them directly to our website! So again, Petfinder was not done away with!”

The account was canceled November 3rd. I will be counting the days before AC PetFinder launches, and that’s how many days of exposure they are taking away from these animals. As a result, some of these dogs and cats that could have gotten out alive, will not. There’s no reason to discontinue the current account until another is up and running. They are killing our animals.

The dogs below are all URGENT, and subject to being killed immediately, if they’re even still alive. We have beautiful photos, and notes about their temperament… but nowhere to show people. From left to right: Female tan pit X is Tag #240.  Male black terrier X is Tag #216, Male white/brindle American Bulldog X Tag #67, and Lab/Shepherd X Tag #292. If you’re interested in bringing any of these dogs into your home, please call Animal Control asap at 706-653-4512 or go to the shelter to get meet them!


We can’t continue to stand for this. Contact your City Councilmembers, they can be found (along with phone numbers and e-mails) right here.

This story is continued, at The fight for PetFinder continues into National Animal Shelter Reform Week

11 Responses to “ Designed for shelters, just not this one.

  • I love that you’ve been featuring pets at the bottom of your posts. It’s classy and it increases their exposure. I commented on one of the announcements on FB about Petfinder, wondering whether it was Pet Finder’s policy that had problems with an individual running an account for a government agency because of the volunteer’s wording, “but now she said she was correct…” that this could not be done. Now that I see your post, I understand more clearly that this was a decision made by Columbus, not Petfinder. I do hope they really will work with the site to set up an account and post “in real time,” but like you, I have my doubts.

  • Actually Krista was given the green light to go ahead with it under Chris Brown.

  • It is ridiculous that they won’t allow a petfinder page, but it could just be that they don’t like that it looks like it is officially coming from them. Could you instead get a petfinder account for something like “Friends of Columbus Animal Control,” explain on that group’s petfinder page that you aren’t affiliated with Columbus Animal Control but are promoting their pets since they don’t have a petfinder website and then upload pictures to that? If not, then I’ve heard of other rescue groups who actually list their local animal control’s pets on their own petfinder page, but in the animal description part, state that it is actually at the animal control and to go there to adopt.

  • I was told this morning that it would be a while before the new account was up and running, at least two weeks or more. That’s two weeks or more of exposure these animals won’t have and I wonder how many animals will be killed in these two weeks or more. Too many I am afraid!

  • I even offered to help them with inquiries through email or phone and allow them to do all the listing/updating and I was told “They have it all under control.” Yet, petfinder told me yesterday that they seemed to be short-staffed. All under control but yet short staffed and not accepting help to intercept some of the emails/phone calls. Doesn’t make much sense to me, does it to any of you?

  • Another great blog, Stefani. By answering questions the public might have about things going on, everyone is better informed. Hearing both sides allows for the individual to form an educated opinion. Both entities come out looking bad sometimes, but at least one knows most of the facts and can decide which side has the most qualities in which they believe. It would seem that ACC is putting up the most resistance to the goal of No Kill(and ACC being a part of the city government means the city government also). Whether it’s the fault of individuals or those that supervise them there does seem to be a rather “this won’t work” attitude. I am not looking for miracles just improvements, but continued improvements. They should be open to ideas that are practical and within their power to carry out. If, for some reason, this is not the case, they need to be honest with the public and offer an explanation of why the idea is being dismissed. Case in point- if they knew the Kuranda beds were not going to be used at the facility, that fact should have been known BEFORE they were purchased with donations. Telling someone after the fact is not being fair and should not be a behavior exhibited by this level of any group. I would feel differently if, on the other hand, they had said from the beginning “we don’t want them, they will not be used”. Then the fault for bad judgement falls in another lap. At this point there are so many fingers pointing in so many directions, everyone is getting confused. The mayor may want the issue to “go away” so she can deal with more important issues(read bringing business to Columbus) but she needs to direct her attention back to it. Obviously, it’s not going away-too many people have been shaken awake. I don’t think anyone’s going to turn around and go back to sleep.

  • From Columbus Animal Care & Control Center, “The issue is that making sure they stay current. Lately we have been getting calls about dogs that we have had from 3 years ago. So it has to be posted to a sight that will stay updated, constantly.”

    As mentioned in my blog, the animals aren’t given names, but are distinguished by their tag number. Those tags are used over and over, so in essense there have been hundreds of Tag #67′s or Tag #134′s… why would they think somebody was calling about a dog from 3 years ago? IF they were sincere in their claim to want to save these animals, couldn’t that opportunity be taken to talk to this potential adopter that you have on the phone about another pet that will be killed?

    Excuses, excuses. And none of them are any good.

  • Great blog post! I hope the mayor will realize this is a quality of life issue and quality of life issues are tied in with bringing business to a city. I believe young professionals (whom businesses moving to Columbus would employ) want to live in cities that have a good quality of life, including treating the city’s animals well!

    I’m curious as to why they don’t give names to the animals? It would take very, very little effort, would prevent confusion and would probably make the animals more appealing to adopters. Would you rather adopt “Buddy” or tag #8765475? No matter what anyone says, the proof is in their actions and I cannot imagine running a shelter and not naming the adoptable animals.

    I hope enough pressure is placed on AC&C that they will see that not having a Petfinder account is not acceptable. And I hope they will start naming the animals.

  • I post cats from Cobb County AC on RescueGroups, which in turn sends them to Adopt A Pet and several other pet adoption sites.
    I auto updates all new information so you don’t have to go to each site and change each listing.

    I just asked for an account as a virtual volunteer for the AC and never had to get permission from Cobb.

    Quite a few cats have been adopted this way.

    Rescue Groups is on FB

  • I’ve been surfing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be much more useful than ever before.

  • You can definitely see your skills in the work you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.

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