The Western Pennsylvania Humane Society is in a critical state—FULL of animals, but NOT ENOUGH adopters. People continue surrendering animals every day, but fewer are coming in to adopt them. This is probably true at other shelters as well at this time of the year. We need to do something about it today, and for the future.
Right now, can you foster, even for just a few weeks or a month? Can you adopt just one more? You will save lives immediately if you do. Consider it, even try to do something this weekend, the situation is that desperate.
Gretchen J. Fieser, Director of PR and Business Relationships at the shelter, offered figures comparing September 1 to 19, 2010 and 2011 in surrenders and adoptions of cats, dogs and rabbits when figures are often lower with people adapting to their new fall schedules.
- Owner Surrenders of Cats: 13.85% increase
- Owner Surrender of Dogs: 21.92% increase
- Owner Surrender of Rabbits: 300% increase
- Adoptions of Cats: 26.51% DECREASE
- Adoptions of Dogs: 17.37% DECREASE
- Adoption of Rabbits: 50% INCREASE
To put a real number behind that surrender percentage, I visited the shelter a month ago and Gretchen noted, “We took in 48 cats on Tuesday [August 23], and we adopted out 11.”
Late summer figures for total animal surrenders often surpass 1,000 animals per month adding up to over 13,000 animals per year coming into the shelter.
And right now, surrounding no-kill shelters are full and are not accepting any other animals until their numbers are reduced by adoption.
But the WPHS doesn’t have the option of closing the door until they can accept more animals.
“As an open door shelter (we are committed to never turning an animal away in need) we must have help from the community as far as adopting, fostering animals, and spaying and neutering,” Gretchen says. As an open door shelter, they are required to take in all animals that are brought to them, but the shelter has a finite amount of space and the WPHS cannot exceed occupancy.
Even with a dedicated group of over 100 foster homes, breed rescue groups taking animals into their care for adoption and other options for moving animals out of the shelter to be housed other than actual adoption, the shelter still needs help with adoptions and fosters.