Shelter Success

Animal Shelter Success Stories During COVID-19

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Michelle Fournier

While it seems as though all we are surrounded by is bad news, there has been a silver lining during this health crisis, beloved adoptable pets are finding homes. Many animal shelters across the country are experiencing their lowest inventory level in years, if not in their history. With calls from celebrities like Chris Evans encouraging people to adopt a pet and save a life, the copious amounts of time people now have at home, the opportunity to act on a long held desire, or simply identifying a wonderful way to combat loneliness, the call to adopt a pet had been sounded and responded to. Whatever the reason, the pandemic has provided a bright spot of lightening the population at animal shelters and connecting pets with forever homes. 

According to Google, the search term “adopt a pet” has increased 335% since COVID-19 struck, and animal shelters have very swiftly pivoted their models to accommodate the online, contact-free new world order we are all now quickly becoming accustomed to. Some shelters  experienced unprecedented upticks of nearly 700% in adoptions and foster requests, especially early on in quarantine, leading to a concern regarding potential future surrenders, but fortunately the concern not been supported. The adoptions are happening, and they are sticking. 

Our news cycle has been rife with success stories of shelters who have emptied or massively reduced their pet population. Read about some of those amazing shelters who are experiencing this success:

Friends of Palm Beach County Animal Rescue – As a viral Facebook video has shown, the empty main kennel at Friends of Palm Beach County Animal Rescue was a moment shared over 12,000 times, and viewed tens of thousands of times. A feel good celebration highlighting the joy of an empty shelter for the very first time since their founding.

Riverside Animal Shelter In Southern California, the riverside animal shelter saw empty kennels early on during the pandemic, and swiftly resumed their shelter operations to appointment and online adoptions. Allowing for continued intakes and adoptions with little to no interruption in the process.  

Cat Adoption TeamThe largest cat shelter in the Pacific Northwest has been caring for cats and kittens since 1998. With a focus on adoption, foster, and veterinary services the agency stands firmly rooted in their commitment to help all homeless domestic felines. Most recently, CAT hosted Kitten Palooza and in just 48 hours, successfully adopted 77 cats/kittens to new loving homes. 

Miami-Dade Animal Services - The shelter cares for up to 30,000 animals a year and saw a massive increase in adoptions during COVID resulting in the pet population dropping from as high as 350 available pets per day, to as low as 15. Another positive the shelter experienced was the surge in foster placement with a nearly 140% increase from March-April 2019, to same period 2020. 

Save them All ~ We’re in this Together

Additional successes for hundreds of shelters were experienced through their participation in virtual adoption events, hosted by incredible organizations such as Best Friends Animal Sanctury, Find Love Online and Bissell Pet Foundations, Clear the shelters. When the Bissell foundation surveyed 50 shelters participating in their event, roughly 15% had completely cleared their pet population during the campaign, while nearly 40% reported almost empty shelters.

The forced transition from in-person transactions, to contactless and online has provided shelters opportunities to streamline their workflow. Allowing for a more seamless transition and less interruption in important daily operations. 


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