Thursday, September 29, 2022

Local animal shelters are seeing a rise in adoptions. See how they’re doing it during a pandemic

Tinkerbell received medical treatment, and found her forever home, thanks to the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter)

As people are spending more time at home, many are using quarantine as a time to add four-legged friends to their family.

“There is a void, and some people fill it with four legs and fur,” said Roger Iles, shelter manager at the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter.

Last year, the shelter helped adopt 216 animals in the month of October. This year, they have adopted 216 this month so far.

More people are fostering animals as well. Iles said there are currently 129 furry friends in foster homes right now waiting to find their forever home.

“With that number of animals in foster, it gives us more flexibility in our resources here at the shelter to be able to manage our current population,” Iles said.

But running an animal shelter during a pandemic is no walk in the park either.

Before the pandemic, the shelter would allow people to walk the kennels and do a meet-and-greet with the animals in order to find a good match.

Iles said the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter has been requiring appointments to see animals for adoption, but the appointment-only allows people to see one animal at a time.

That also slows down the adoption process greatly.

“You really don’t know if that’s going to be the best fit when you see a picture. It’s only when you interact with the animal that you can judge if this is going to be a good companion for your family,” Iles said.

Kimberly Laska, the executive director of Heritage Humane Society, said they have seen less animals come through their doors this year because of the pandemic. They have also had great success with adoptions, relative to the number of pets in their care.
She said she thinks the best part of these unusual circumstances has been on the adoption side. Like the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter, Heritage is operating by appointment-only. People who come in are paired with a trained staff member or volunteer to find the best match for them.
“There has been a surge in foster care interest, so many pets have benefited from having time outside of the shelter while they wait for their perfect person or family to come and meet them,” Laska said.
Heritage Humane Society has a community outreach program called the “Kibble Kitchen and Beyond” which provides supplies for more than 100 pets per month to help families in need. This is a donation-based program, so the community keeps the shelves stocked. Learn more the program here.
The biggest impact to Heritage has been the reduction of funds received since they have had to cancel most of their in-person events.
Last year, their Auxiliary member raised $144,000 with various fundraising events. This year they are hoping to raise between $20,000 and $30,000 since a lot of events have been canceled outright or moved online.
Ninety-three percent of Heritage’s funding is from private sources, including individual donors, events, program service revenue such as animal camp, dog training classes, and adoption fees. This loss of revenue has been a real challenge for them, Laska said.
The generosity of the community has helped bridge the gap some, but like all nonprofits right now, they are struggling and need the financial help of the community, Laska added.
The Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter is also working to forge bonds in the community. For example, through Casey Subaru, the shelter is able to receive a donation for every car purchased at the dealership. Casey Subaru has also donated $100 to the shelter for every adoption throughout October.
Funding like this helps the shelter provide animal services like medical treatment. Iles spoke of a dog that required a leg amputation. The dog was later adopted.
“We’re very fortunate with the animal services we have,” Iles said. “At the end of the day, it’s about what we can put back into the community.”
For more information or to donate to the Heritage Humane Society, visit their website here.
The Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter is now back to normal operating hours and is allowing a limited number of guests in the building at a time. Adoption fees are $50, and this covers microchipping, spay/neutering, and age-appropriate vaccines.
For more information about the animals available for adoption, visit their website here.

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