REIDSVILLE, N.C. -- According to annual reports to the state, thousands of animals in North Carolina shelters are euthanized every year.
One Reidsville rescue group is trying to get those numbers down.
"The main thing we do is rescue animals who are on the euthanasia lists at kill shelters around the state," explained Darrell Thornton, a rescue worker with Carolina Veterinary Assistance and Adoption Group.
Local shelters notify CVAAG if an animal is about to be euthanized.
Rescue workers do their best to go get the animal, sometimes with only minutes to spare before it is put down.
"We'll take them in as many as we can," said Thornton.
CVAAG makes sure all animals they adopt out are spayed or neutered, and any medical issues are addressed.
The group has saved 1,200 cats and dogs this year already.
CVAAG Executive Assistance Christina Zirk was hosting adoptions at Greensboro's Petsmart on Lawndale Wednesday.
"Most of them were already on a schedule to be put down," she pointed to the two cats and dog she was working with. "But we also give people second chances."
CVAAG President Herb Moniz told Fox8, "We try to hire the underprivileged or people who most companies may overlook. Drug addicts in recovery, people with non-violent criminal records and homeless folks who need a job."
"With our jobs program," he explained, "We can give folks a second chance just like the animals they help get a second chance."
Thorton said, "I'm actually a convicted felon. And I did some time in prison for some things that I really regret doing."
He had a difficult time finding a job to support his family once he was released from prison.
After a year of working with the rescue group, Thornton says CVAAG not only helped animals; it saved his life, too.
"They want a second chance to get a good home. And I want a second chance in society to be able to be a productive member again."
Moinz worked at an animal shelter in Palm Springs, California and helped dramatically reduce their euthanasia rate in his time there.
He was inspired to begin CVAAG when he moved to North Carolina and heard about high euthanasia rates across the state.
Zirk said their group goes to seven different Petsmarts five to seven days a week.
"The more animals that we save, the more people we can help," added Thornton.
Carolina Veterinary Assistance and Adoption Group is a non-profit organization.
They rely on donations to continue their pet adoption programs, which sometimes include surgeries for animals.
If you would are interested in donating or volunteering, visit http://cvaag.org/ for more information.
They also have a "wish list" on the site of items they need to continue operating.