'Pedal for Pets' raises funds to address pet over-population

Lexie sits on the exam table as (from left) H.E.L.P. Spay/Neuter Clinic Director LouAnn Jones, Pedal for Pets organizer Wendy Maguire, H.E.L.P. employee Amanda Mease, Georgia Heartland Director Jane Reed and president Jerry Ginn discuss Maguire’s fundraising efforts that began in August as a way to stem the tide of pet over-population. Pedal for Pets expects to have another Senoia to Savannah bike ride fundraiser this summer. Photo/Ben Nelms.

Senoia business owner and Fayette County resident Wendy Maguire has long been concerned about the over-population of dogs and cats. And recently the animal lover in her decided to put her effort where her heart is. Maguire established Pedal for Pets and is conducting fundraising events to help supply funds for spay and neutering in conjunction with the multi-county Georgia Heartland Humane Society and the H.E.L.P. Spay/Neuter Clinic in Newnan.

For Maguire, the idea that pet over-population is a preventable issue and a compassionate mission goes without saying. That concern is what led Wendy and her son Robbie to make the first Pedal for Pets bike ride fundraiser in August to Savannah to help raise money and awareness for the need to have pets spayed or neutered.

Maguire, in making the point that pet over-population is not only epidemic and the need for spaying or neutering worthwhile and humane, said each day in the U.S. more than 70,000 puppies and kittens are born, each day more than 19,000 enter an animal shelter and each day more than 11,000 are euthanized.

“This is a grass roots way to solve the problem of over population, one community at a time,” Maguire said.

Maguire established the Pedal for Pets organization which is operating under the umbrella of the non-profit Georgia Heartland Humane Society.

“Both these organizations help each other and the goals of both are the same - pet over-population,” said Georgia Heartland Humane Society Director Jane Reed.

The multi-county Georgia Heartland works with animal rescue groups in Fayette, Pike, Meriwether, Spalding, Heard and Troup counties and provides services such as adoption programs, “Angels Fur Ever” foster care, “Seniors for Seniors” that matches older animals with older adults, dog houses and a pet food bank.

Reed said the non-profit was established in 1995 and is based on the concept that all life is sacred and that animals deserve a pain-free and peaceful existence.

Both Pedal for Pets and Georgia Heartland work closely with the H.E.L.P. Spay/Neuter Clinic in Newnan. Serving as an outreach program of the Newnan Coweta Humane Society, H.E.L.P. Clinic Executive Director Lou Ann Jones said the center opened in October 2010 with the intention of becoming a regional resource to “Help End Local Pet over-population.”

“It’s really an epidemic,” Jones said. “H.E.L.P. and Heartland are working together to provide the services. And it’s smart to work together. We’ve spayed or neutered 220 dogs and cats since May.”

Jones emphasized that the idea behind the clinic is to provide a non-lethal solution to pet over-population.

Maguire said she initiated Pedal for Pets because she wanted to put her concerns into action.

“I wanted to do something bigger than me. So I got together with these folks and hammered it out,” Maguire said. “What I would really like to see happen is awareness and volunteers.”

Maguire said that Pedal for Pets since May has raised more than $5,300 for spay and neuter services, adding that Georgia Heartland has just been approved for $15,000 in grants.

Regardless the neighborhood or the community Maguire, Reed and Jones all agreed that pet over-population is an issue that can be addressed. And Jones said the H.E.L.P. goal is to make it easier for residents and rescuers to have access to affordable spay and neuter services.

“Anyone can use the clinic services in Coweta, but the free spay/neuter program through Georgia Heartland Humane Society is for those who are underserved in our community. This is what this branch of the group does, and it is absolutely amazing,” said Maguire.

Next up, said Maguire, is the potential for a second fundraiser next summer to either Savannah or Tybee Island.

“Next time we’re looking for more riders,” Maguire said.

Maguire is co-owner of Maguire’s Family and Friends Restaurant in Senoia. For more information on Pedal for Pets visit www.pedalforpets.org

For more information on the many programs associated with the Georgia Heartland Humane Society visit http://www.georgiaheartlandhumanesociety.org

And for information on the H.E.L.P. Spay/Neuter Clinic in Newnan visit www.helpspayneuter.org

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