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Project Pearl helps neglected animals in Winston-Salem

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The Forsyth County Animal Shelter says volunteers and social media are helping to save the lives of animals with critical health problems that are dropped off at the shelter or confiscated by animal control.

Project Pearl started as a group of volunteers working with professional photographers to take professional pictures of adoptable pets and then post them on-line. The strategy helped spark a renewed interest in pet adoption from the shelter.

Project Pearl Organizer Melissa Ball said the group soon learned of another segment of shelter animals that pictures placed on social media may help, animals critically injured. Many of them likely to be euthanized because the shelter couldn't otherwise afford the expensive rehab and medical treatments.

"The images we are able to capture are to show the animal in the state they come in.  People see this and they understand. They get to learn about the dog through photos they see and easily bond with our critical care fosters," said Ball.

Tim Jennings, Forsyth County Animal Control Director, said the shelter sees many critical cases every week.

"So many of them are critical and come into the shelter, it's daily. We probably have 10 or a dozen that come in the shelter a week, animals we could only afford to euthanize, unfortunately, just to get it out of its pain," said Jennings.

Project Pearl said by placing the animals story, pictures, progress and success it's been able to find foster homes, medical help and most importantly adoptive homes for many pets that may not have survived otherwise.

"It gets people interest and they give a lot of love, food and medical attention," said Ball.

"It gives some positive outcomes and makes everyone feel better," said Jennings.

If you would like to see or help the pets being fostered, in need of critical care help, or up for adoption visit