Saturday, September 30, 2023

Raise awareness for homeless animals. Here’s how

(Southside Daily file photo/Courtesy of Pixabay)
(WYDaily file photo/Courtesy of Pixabay)

For one week (Feb. 11-17) 14 local animal shelters will be joining forces and taking to social media to educate their communities about animal homelessness in honor of Homeless Animal Awareness Week.

According to the ASPCA, 40 percent of pet owners first learned about their pet through word of mouth.

Community members can join the Facebook event and further their participation by updating their social media with HAAW graphics and using the hashtags #HR4PETS, #HAAW, and #homeslessanimalawarenessweek, according to the City of Norfolk.

The participating shelters are Chesapeake Animal Services, the Chesapeake Humane Society, Gloucester-Mathews Humane Society, Heritage Humane Society, Isle of Wight County Animal Shelter, Norfolk Animal Care and Adoption Center, Norfolk SPCA, PETA, Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter, Peninsula SPCA, Portsmouth Humane Society, Suffolk Animal Care, Virginia Beach Animal Care and Adoption Center and the Virginia Beach SPCA.

Some of those shelters will be offering adoption discounts or holding special events, such as “Fashion Has Gone to Dogs,” hosted by the City of Norfolk at MacArthur Center on Feb. 10.

Individuals are encouraged to follow the Homeless Animal Awareness Week Facebook event for information about adoption discounts and events.

According to a study by the American Pet Products Association, the number of pet-owning homes increased by nearly 5 million in 2017-2018, but only a fraction of those homes found their new pet at an animal shelter or humane society.

This study also identified “word of mouth” as the most common source people relied on for learning about an animal’s availability.

With more than 32,000 animals sheltered in Hampton Roads in 2017, it has never been more important to spread the message of adopting from your local animal shelter, organizers said.

Officials said ending animal homelessness can happen if we think “shelters first.”

John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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