“Clear the Shelters” Gives Temporary Relief
By Phil Snyder, Executive Director Suncoast Humane Society
Suncoast Humane Society tried something a little different to take advantage of this year’s “Clear the Shelters” day, which was Saturday, August 17. The shelter had been overflowing with homeless dogs and especially cats, with numbers hitting a peak in June of this year.
To spark public interest, the adoption fee for felines was reduced from $95 to $10. Marketing efforts were increased in newsprint and social media. As a result, 118 cats were adopted during the last half of June and throughout the month of July. 48 dogs were also adopted during this time, however a severe increase in canine intakes was taking its toll. The increase was so much that dogs in the holding areas, and even in some of the adoption areas, were being kenneled back-to-back in housing designed for one animal.
Knowing that “Clear the Shelters” was only a one day adoption event organized by NBC and Telemundo owned television stations, the decision was made to get an early start on the promotion, hoping it would lead to a much needed increase in adoptions.
Adoption fees were reduced for both canines and felines to $10 during all of August. Presently, with one week remaining in the month, 53 dogs and 51 cats have been adopted from Suncoast Humane Society and are now enjoying new forever homes.
Customer service and adoption staff enjoyed memorable moments during several of the adoptions. Many of the dogs and cats that were adopted were longtimers, meaning they had been in the shelter for over 6 months. There is always reason for staff to celebrate when a longtimer finally goes home.
Gucci was one of the longtimers. He is a large, strong dog that needed a home with lots of room to exercise. During his 6 month stay at the shelter, the 7 year old Rottweiler mix had been taken by volunteers on many “Dogs About Town” adoption journeys throughout the community. Everyone was hoping he would catch the eye of someone capable of handling this ball of energy. The right connection was finally made at the shelter during this month-long adoption promotion.
Maggie, a 10 year old Jack Russell Terrier, has urinary problems and requires daily medication to keep things in check. Pets with medical needs are not easy adoptions. However it did happen for Maggie, and she now enjoys her new family with another four-legged play mate.
And then there is a young Pit Bull mix named Chance, who had been in the shelter for nearly 6 months before he was spotted by his new family. As luck would have it, he was adopted on Clear the Shelters day, which was also his first birthday.
Clear the Shelters is a wonderful adoption event that draws attention to the many animals that are waiting for a 2nd chance at life. One could argue, however, that the word TEMPORARILY could be added to promotion’s name, because even after the many successful adoptions, Suncoast Humane Society is again full, housing 115 dogs and cats in the shelter. As long as dogs and cats are being born at a much higher ratio over human babies, it is sad that every day can’t be Clear the Shelters day. The real solution remains, SPAY and NEUTER = NO BIRTH = LESS EUTHANASIA.
Suncoast Humane Society’s Clear the Shelters promotion featuring special adoption fees continues through Saturday, August 31.