The holidays are a busy time for everyone, and that crunch is especially felt at animal shelters. Many facilities are at or near max capacity, and the holidays offer a great opportunity for shelters to bring animals a new family. The Tuscaloosa Metro Animal Shelter in Alabama, for example, has launched a Home for the Holidays campaign to help bring awareness to the many animals they house. The Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter has implemented a very successful holiday adoption program in which animals are placed temporarily in homes. Having a new pet around the house for a short period of time can help solidify a family’s decision to take a pet home permanently. The animal shelter in Lafourche Parish, La. has developed a similar program. They partnered with Petfinder.com to participate in the 2011 Foster a Lonely Pet for the Holidays initiative. Mobile County, Ala. is helping give even more animals a new home by partnering with local veterinarians. In the spirit of the season, the vets offered free care for adopted animals, allowing the county shelter to waive all adoption fees.
While for some giving pets as a holiday gift may seem like a great idea, some shelters are far less enthusiastic about the rush of adoptions they will receive leading up to Christmas. The shelter in Milford, Conn. has developed a detailed set of questions to ensure those coming to adopt understand the full cost and time commitment of having a pet. So many people get caught up in the holiday spirit they sometimes overlook the realities of owning a pet, and many shelters will find them back at their door just a few weeks later. To avoid this, the SPCA serving Erie County, N.Y. has stopped taking requests for adoptions during the days before Christmas.
Whether your local animal shelter has a holiday rush or not, these facilities are a critical component of a local government’s animal control efforts throughout the year. Read more about how other communities are working with their shelters on the Knowledge Network.
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