An­nual ‘Clear the Shel­ter’ event helps find record num­ber of ‘for­ever’ homes for an­i­mals in re­gion

Maryland Independent - - News - By TIFFANY WAT­SON twat­son@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @Tif­fIndyNews

Many cages at lo­cal an­i­mal shel­ters were left empty this past week­end as an­i­mals found “for­ever” homes dur­ing the Clear the Shel­ter na­tion­wide event.

On July 23, shel­ters across the tri-county area par­tic­i­pated in the sec­ond na­tional Clear the Shel­ter event, spon­sored by NBC News. The event works to adopt out an­i­mals and pro­mote an­i­mal shel­ters. Dur­ing the event, all pet adop­tion fees were waived and shel­ters re­ceived vol­un­teer work from lo­cal res­i­dents, or­ga­ni­za­tions and vet­eri­nar­i­ans be­fore and dur­ing the event.

“The event this year was a huge suc­cess,” said Kim Stephens, Tri-County An­i­mal Shel­ter su­per­vi­sor. “With 77 an­i­mals adopted, in­clud­ing 38 dogs, 35 cats, three rab­bits and one chicken. One of the dogs, named Di­a­mond, had been at the shel­ter for over 40 days and she was adopted by a won­der­ful fam­ily dur­ing the Clear the Shel­ter event.”

The Tri-County An­i­mal Shel­ter had a to­tal of 77 an­i­mals adopted which, ac­cord­ing to shel­ter staff, is the high­est num­ber of adop­tions in a sin­gle day in the shel­ter’s his­tory. Last year’s event found homes for 67 an­i­mals, and now holds the record for the sec­ond high­est num­ber of adop­tions in shel­ter his­tory.

“Dur­ing the month of July, most shel­ters see an in­flux of an­i­mals,” Stephens said. “This event helps to pro­mote the avail­able shel­ter an­i­mals to match them with fam­i­lies that wish to adopt and alert more peo­ple to the im­por­tance of adopt­ing. Although events like this one re­quire a great deal of plan­ning, it is a good feel­ing to see so many an­i­mals leav­ing happy with ex­cited fam­i­lies.”

The shel­ter also part­nered with South­ern Mary­land Spay and Neuter Inc., Last Chance An­i­mal Res­cue and Round­table Haven to en­sure all an­i­mals found ap­pro­pri­ate homes.

“Last Chance An­i­mal Res­cue, who also runs Paw Prints An­i­mal Hos­pi­tal, was able to ob­tain a grant to fully vet 20 an­i­mals so they could go home on the day of adop­tion,” Stephens said. “The 20 an­i­mals cho­sen for this grant were our bully breeds, which we don’t adopt out. We part­nered with SPOT and Round­table Haven to do the adop­tions of the 20 bully breeds, both at the shel­ter and PetS­mart. Paw Prints An­i­mal Hos­pi­tal and the Hu­mane So­ci­ety of Charles County vet­ted a large por­tion of our other an­i­mals be­fore the event.”

In col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Tri-County An­i­mal Shel­ter, the Last Chance An­i­mal Res­cue also held an event at the PetS­mart in Dunkirk called Adopta-bull Hug-a-bull for the adop­tion of pit bull breeds. Cindy Sharp­ley, Last Chance An­i­mal Res­cue di­rec­tor, said it was just the right thing to do.

“We backed off our adop­tions, be­cause our an­i­mals are safe,” Sharp­ley said. “We wanted to see the shel­ters get cleared be­cause they’re the ones that are in dan­ger. They didn’t have money to spay and neuter their bully breeds so we funded that through al­most $5,000 from PetS­mart char­i­ties. We did all of the vet­ting for them, spay­ing, neu­ter­ing, heart worm tests, treat­ment and vac­cines.”

Starla Rai­born, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Hu­mane So­ci­ety of Charles County, said their shel­ter adopted out 63 an­i­mals in­clud­ing 44 kit­tens, three adult cats, 11 other types of an­i­mals and a few dogs.

“It went ex­cel­lent and at times there was stand­ing room only,” Rai­born said. “We are so flooded with kit­tens and pup­pies so with­out the ex­tra at­ten­tion from Clear the Shel­ter day, we would just have the over­flow of kit­tens and cats. But we were able to get 44 of them out so now we can bring 44 more in to help save them all.”

Rai­born said it was a joy to see peo­ple work­ing with vol­un­teers to find the right an­i­mal for them and with the in­tent to have a for­ever friend.

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