In 2011, more than 1,800 dogs were euthanized at the Macon-Bibb Animal Shelter, according to county data.
Now with the help of a $100,000 grant from PetSmart Charities, county leaders hope to significantly cut down that number.
"This is a move in the right direction because it's targeting the root," said new shelter Director Sarah Tenon.
The grant will fund a pilot program to encourage responsible pet owners to spay and neuter their dogs through a countywide educational campaign.
But it will also pay for targeted efforts in one Macon zip code spay or neuter between 1,100 to 1,400 dogs over the next two years.
"It's targeting dogs in a particular zip code, 31201," Tenon said. "That will help in that particular community as far as the spaying and neutering."
That may involve paying for more than just the procedures and could include transportation and other measures.
Bibb County spokesman Kevin Barrere says there's still some details to work out for the pilot.
County Grant Coordinator Kari Kitchens says, "We'll sign the grant agreement probably within the next couple of days and we hope to kick-start the pilot program by December 1."
With the shelter most days at or near capacity, Tenon says they were chosen based on the need in the community.
"It helps us to accomplish our mission and what we want to do, and that is to reduce the number of animals that come to the Bibb County Animal Shelter," said Tenon
The 31201 zip code includes downtown, InTown, Beall's Hill, Pleasant Hill and the industrial area.
"What we did is we started doing some research on the needs in the community regarding the overpopulation of pets," Kitchens said.
She said PetSmart uses a formula that assumes 90 percent of the pets living with people below the poverty line are not fixed.
Kitchens said that's more than 2,600 dogs in that specific zip code and that shows an urgency for the program to get up and running.