ARF uses transport to save unwanted animals in Jackson County

The Jackson County Humane Society uses all of its resources and volunteers to help the growing population of unwanted and homeless animals in the community. Currently, there are no programs in the area to deal with this problem, but ARF volunteers have literally taken to the road to find a solution.

ARF has created a lifesaving transport program that takes the many unwanted and abandoned dogs to a non-profit organization in New Jersey called Common Sense for Animals. Volunteers give their time and energy to drive a truck-load of crated animals through the night to their chance at a home and family.

Many states in the Northeast have strict regulations concerning spay and neuter laws and leash laws. Since 2007, ARF has helped to transport 759 animals to adoptable areas in the North. 179 dogs were transported in 2012 alone.

ARF has partnered with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which donates an air-conditioned vehicle for use in the transports. 20 to 30 animals are loaded in crates and travel through the night, to shelters where they have, in many cases, already been placed in a home.

Robin Hitch, a foster volunteer, had an Akita named Koda for one week prior to the last transport. She bonded with the animal and wanted to keep him but surrendered him for the transport because he had already been placed in a home in the North.

“I almost called to say that he had run away so I wouldn’t have to give him up,” said Hitch. “I know he is going to a good home. I hope he does well. He is such a good boy.”

According to ARF members, the transport costs more than $75 per animal. The organization covers this cost and pays for the volunteer driver’s expenses including hotel accommodations, food and gas.

ARF, a non-profit organization, operates on $20,000 to $25,000 a year in donations, with fundraisers helping to offset the cost of the transport. According to the ARF newsletter, they spent more than $20,000 in the first part of 2012, to send dogs to northern shelters and only received $2,330 in reimbursement from those shelters.

Video of ARF Transport in Sylva, N.C.