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