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May 21, 2013 2:21 AM by Danielle Lerner

Saving Pima County's death row dogs

TUCSON - For one group of abandoned dogs and cats at Pima Animal Care Center time is running out. The shelter is forced to euthanize thousands of animals each year and when it comes to the dogs in its "Special Needs" category, their fate lies in the community's hands.

They echo through walls, hallways, behind closed doors. The sounds of fear, cries for a second chance at a life beyond the bars. Thousands will never get that chance.

"We may have a day that we have 70 and we may have days when we have three," said Justin Gallick, an animal care advocate.

Euthanasia is a difficult, but daily reality. Despite limited county resources and funds, PACC does not put animals down for space. It does, however, have to make some gut-wrenching decisions for homeless dogs and cats with special needs. Many need specialized medical or behavioral treatments to survive.

"Every day there's rescue groups and special needs that get out of here, and every day there's more that we put into this category," said Gallick. "We're begging for everybody's help."

These special needs dogs are dealing with ailments like dental issues, eye infections, some need surgery. The goal is to get them out and get them rescued before these issues take a toll on their quality of life.

"We're probably talking about a difference of 5,000 to 6,000 animals," Gallick said.

Five to six thousand animals saved every year, but only if more rescuers and adopters are willing to accept the challenge.

"We want to get to the point, and hopefully we will, where there's a waiting list of people as opposed to us begging and getting out there looking," said Gallick.

For more information on adopting from PACC, click here.

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