We are in a situation that we cannot get out of on our own

by Dava Cooley Cook Founder, County Roads Rescue

When I started this organization in 2016, it was because I realized how desperately the county needed help with animals. And when the county representatives said “there’s no animal problem,” we stepped up and said “we see it, it’s there, how can we help.”

For the past five years we have pushed ourselves to our limits to save as many animals from Cherokee County as we can. We have grown from a foster-based organization who took in 50-100 animals a year, to an organization with a facility who takes in 300+ animals a year.

We are not funded by any government (body), we have done all of this through the generosity of private donors. Early on when we realized adoptions were not happening, we found other alternatives to move our animals and give them their happily ever after. When we realized we didn’t have enough fosters to match the calls we had coming in, we purchased a facility. When other rescues were only taking in animals with no behavioral issues, we opened our doors to the ones no one else would.

On a personal level, when my husband was diagnosed with brain cancer last year and I realized I couldn’t put in as much time and effort as I once did, we found a way with our volunteers, who have put in countless hours of love, passion and dedications when I couldn’t.

At every obstacle, we have found a way. We have done our very best to keep these doors open to serve our community and the animals who desperately need us.

We do rescue differently. Most rescues do not answer calls for their county as animal control would. Most rescues do not have facilities and are foster based. They have the choice to say no. They pull animals from municipal facilities and open intake animal shelters (which are funded by the government). We do things differently. We are the only option for most of these animals. We take in animals before we know if they’re friendly, or heartworm negative or even adoptable. Most of our animals had to be trapped on the street by us. We have to face the fact that if we say no to an intake, it will most likely die alone on the streets.

And because of this we face a constant battle

Of having more animals than we can afford. Or we don’t have enough hands on deck to keep up with the tasks of caring for so many animals and we end up sleep deprived, missing our families, and can’t keep up with our own households so that the animals are taken care of.

I don’t think I have ever made such a desperate plea. We are in a situation that we cannot get out of on our own. This obstacle is too big for me to even wrap my head around. All I know is I can no longer sacrifice my family, and sanity, to keep trying to fix an issue that is beyond my reach. This county needs to make some serious changes in regards to animal welfare, or we will be run into the ground.

If we cannot maintain a steady growth of incoming donations, fosters and volunteers to match the level and more specifically type (unsocialized, sick, injured animals) of intakes we have coming in … we will have no other choice but to drastically down-grade ourselves and the resources that we offer our community.

We HAVE to raise at least $10,000 in the next 3-4 weeks to maintain what we have at our facility now.

This is to catch up. Once we are caught up, we can reassess and try to restructure ourselves to be more sustainable with the small team we have. But at this point, it is looking like if things don’t drastically change in the next month or two, taking in strays for the county with no longer be a mission that we can take on and we will have to change direction.

No more picking up strays. Animals will have to have behavioral assessments and heartworm tests before intake. No more emergency calls at 1 a.m., etc.

We need your help to prevent these changes ASAP!

You can sign up to be a monthly donor on our website at www.countyroadsrescue.org/donate

You can also donate through any of the links below or call our vet directly at 903-586-6541, or donate via

PayPal.me/countyRoadsrescue or Venmo @County-Roadsrescue

Please message us or call us at 903-339-1312 if you’d like to join our family by fostering or volunteering.