Overflowing with Abandoned Pets, Shelters Get Creative
By VICTORIA HEUER
November 25, 2009
Many animal shelters across the nation are taking advantage of the traditional post-Thanksgiving shopping weekend by promoting adoption specials for cats and dogs. Some specials will be only for the the weekend following Thanksgiving, while other shelters are offering discounted adoption fees throughout the holiday season.
From adopt-a-thons to “Black Friday” adoption events, shelters are devising clever solutions to the overcrowding that has overtaken shelters in both small towns and large cities. Shelter workers are hoping to cut back on the number of animals they will have to continue euthanizing, which has been particularly hard on the cat population. In St. George, Utah, county animal control estimates that by year's end they will have euthanized 1000 cats. In Omaha, Nebraska, the Humane Society has had to euthanize over 400 cats this year.
This is due in large part to owner negligence when it comes to spaying and neutering their cats, and to the relative ease of turning a cat out of the house when it has become financially difficult to feed the animal.
Many shelters are reporting that even as they are putting a lot of animals down, many more are still arriving, and the shelters are overwhelmed.
In most cases, shelters are asking that able families adopt a cat or dog, but there are other ways to help, even for people who are not able to take an animal home to live permanently.
Foster programs are becoming a popular temporary solution for homeless dogs and cats. The benefits are twofold: the shelter is relieved of caring for the animal full-time, and the animal is learning how to adapt to a home environment.
For people who cannot care for an animal at all, most shelters welcome donations. Money, of course, but also canned pet food, kitten and puppy chow, cat and dog chow, cat litter, paper towels, bleach, towels and blankets, and grooming supplies and pet toys.
For those who have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to adopt, this may be it, as shelters are holding holiday adoption specials. Some are having “Black Friday” specials, where the adoption cost is discounted for black cats and black dogs. This is related to a social phenomenon known as “black dog syndrome,” but cats are known to be affected by the thinking behind the stigma as well.
Following is a sample of the some of the adoption events planned across the U.S. Call your local shelters in your community to find out if they are also having adoption specials (don't forget county animal services), or to ask how you can help with a donation:
Pet Refuge in Mishawaka, Indiana is hosting a special Black Friday black cat adoption day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, and from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday at the shelter at 2300 W. Sixth St. Call 574-256-0886 for more info.
Anderson Animal Shelter in South Elgin, Chicago is also hosting a Black Friday black cat adoption day on Friday from noon to 5:30 p.m. The shelter is located at 1000 South La Fox Road (Route 31). Call 847-697-2880 for more info.
Animal Services Center of Mesilla Valley in Las Cruces, New Mexico will be hosting adoption events over the weekend. From 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the downtown Farmer's Market, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at PetCo, 3050 E. Lohman. Call 575-382-0018 for more info.
The Humane Society of Belmont, New Hampshire is having a two day Adopt-A-Thon at the Belknap Mall next door to Pet Paradise from 11 a.m. To 4 p.m. both Friday and Saturday. Call 603-524-3252 for more info.
The Wake County SPCA of Raleigh, North Carolina is having a “door-buster” day this Friday, with reduced adoption costs. They will be opening their doors for potential new pet parents at 8 a.m. (rather than their usual tiem of 11 a.m.) They are located at 200 Petfinder Lane. For more info call 919-772-2326
Metro Animal Services of Louisville, Kentucky is offering discounted adoption through the holiday season, with a goal of adopting out at least 250 pets before the end of December. They are open for visits at 3705 Manslick Road. Call 502-361-1318 for more information and hours.