Find­ing lov­ing, for­ever homes

An­i­mal ser­vices fa­cil­ity hosts ‘Clear the Shel­ters’ pet adop­tion drive

The Enquire-Gazette - - Front Page - By JOHNATHON CLINKSCALES jclinkscales@somd­news.com

The Prince Ge­orge’s County An­i­mal Ser­vices Fa­cil­ity and NBC4 Wash­ing­ton hosted the sec­ond an­nual “Clear the Shel­ters” pet adop­tion drive Satur­day in Up­per Marl­boro to help home­less pets find new homes.

Clear the Shel­ters, ac­cord­ing to its web­site, is a na­tion­wide ini­tia­tive that aims to con­nect an­i­mals in need with lov­ing new fam­i­lies. Thanks to the help of nearly 700 par­tic­i­pat­ing shel­ters across the coun­try, more than 47,000 pets have been adopted this year.

Last year’s highly suc­cess­ful in­au­gu­ral ef­fort re­sulted in nearly 20,000 pets be­ing adopted into new fam­i­lies, 56 of whom found new homes right here in the county. Res­i­dents who at­tended this year’s event re­ceived re­duced fee adop­tions— al­though they were re­quired to pay a $5 pet li­cense fee — as well as waived pet spay­ing and neu­ter­ing fees, a press re­lease from the county’s an­i­mal ser­vices fa­cil­ity noted.

From dogs and cats to fish, snakes and even a rab­bit, As­so­ciate Di­rec­tor Rod­ney Tay­lor said about 57 an­i­mals found lov­ing, for­ever homes with their new own­ers.

“It was a won­der­ful event,” Tay­lor said in a phone

in­ter­view. “Many, many fam­i­lies came out to take one of our pets and give them for­ever, lov­ing homes. We’re re­ally ex­cited about that.”

Each year, mil­lions of un­wanted and home­less an­i­mals are born in this coun­try. Of those that end up in shel­ters, some will be adopted but many will be eu­th­a­nized. One of the most im­por­tant things fam­i­lies can do is to have their pets spayed or neutered, ac­cord­ing to the Prince Ge­orge’s County web­site.

A key re­spon­si­bil­ity of the An­i­mal Man­age­ment Divi­sion is to place pets from the fa­cil­ity in the most suit­able home avail­able for both the pet and the fam­ily. All an­i­mals must be main­tained in ac­cor­dance with the li­cens­ing and other laws of the com­mu­nity in which it re­sides and be pro­vided with rou­tine and emer­gency vet­eri­nary care as re­quired, the web­site also noted.

“They have a new mem­ber of their fam­ily that should be with them for its life and that’s cer­tainly the goal,” Tay­lor said.

As an open-door mis­sion shel­ter, Tay­lor said the fa­cil­ity takes in a lot of an­i­mals— es­pe­cially from June to Au­gust — that oth­er­wise can’t be turned away. That, in turn, makes it very chal­leng­ing for his staff to find homes for them all, he said.

“We’re try­ing to en­cour­age all of the gen­eral public that, ‘Please, if for some rea­son you have to give up your an­i­mal, talk to your fam­ily, your next of kin, your co­work­ers, your church mem­bers. Some­one will prob­a­bly take that an­i­mal from you in­stead of just brin­ing it to the shel­ter be­cause we’re al­ready chal­lenged enough with try­ing to find homes for the ones that we have,’” he said. “So it was re­ally im­por­tant that we had a day like [the pet adopt drive] where we can try our best to place as many an­i­mals as we can.”

For Tay­lor, he said the pet adopt drive com­bined with the hu­mane ed­u­ca­tion com­po­nent, which the fa­cil­ity of­fers a range of pre­sen­ta­tions from spay/neuter ser­vices to an­i­mal safety, pro­motes a healthy and re­spect­ful at­ti­tude to­wards an­i­mals and all liv­ing be­ings. He is thank­ful to have a great group of staff mem­bers who helped make the event a suc­cess.

“The fam­i­lies were ex­cited,” Tay­lor said. “The kids were so happy — big smiles on their faces, tak­ing pic­tures, hug­ging, kiss­ing. We saw it all.”

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF THE PRINCE GE­ORGE’S COUNTY AN­I­MAL SER­VICES FA­CIL­ITY

Above, the Joseph and Red­den fam­i­lies, the first two fam­i­lies to adopt, en­joy play time with their new pups dur­ing the sec­ond an­nual “Clear the Shel­ters” drive July 23 at the Prince Ge­orge’s County An­i­mal Ser­vices Fa­cil­ity in Up­per Marl­boro. The...

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF THE PRINCE GE­ORGE’S COUNTY AN­I­MAL SER­VICES FA­CIL­ITY

Nicky Oliver, a for­mer res­i­dent of Capi­tol Heights, smiles as she poses with her new pet snake.

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