Shelter encounters declining rates for cat adoptions locallyPublished 11:06am Saturday, June 15, 2013
At the Lake Martin Animal Shelter, a bulletin board hangs above the front desk.
The board is usually sprinkled with notes signifying recent adoptions.
As of yesterday, more than two weeks into the month, the board is barren.
“Typically we adopt one a day,” said Mia Chandler, shelter director.
Chandler explained that usually, May to September is marked by an increase in intake of animals.
“May was not horrible in terms of adoption – we actually did really well in terms of adoption,” Chandler said. “Intake was higher than last year. We took in a 255 new animals.”
And adoptions are not keeping pace with intake. So far there has been one adoption, which has not yet been added to the board.
“This month, adoptions have come to a come to a complete halt,” Chandler said.
Chandler said the shelter – which charges a fee for its adoptions – is constantly competing with those offering kittens or puppies free to a good home. Chandler said while these offers may seem tempting, they could cost the pet owner in the long run.
“In all honesty, an adoption at a shelter economically is better,” Chandler said. “It typically includes surgery and vaccinations.”
Chandler said quotes for such services could run upward of $200.
The best way for pet owners to help the shelter keep intakes down, Chandler said, is to have their pets spayed or neutered.
“If people are faced with the situation of having to place all the kittens (in a good home), they realize how challenging it is and are more likely to fix the problem by having their pet fixed,” Chandler said. “Every three months there is a potential for a litter.”
Chandler said that pet owners shouldn’t let the costs be a deterrent.
“There is help out there – just come speak to me,” Chandler said.
There are also programs for those who wish to get cats spayed or neutered at an affordable rate but do not wish to adopt them, Chandler said.
Several factors lie behind adoption rates drying up, but Chandler compared the situation to the current economy.
“It is like the job market – the area is saturated with responsible pet owners, and until they lose a pet to old age, they probably won’t look for another pet,” Chandler said. “We want pets to get out of the shelter, but not just to be free from the kennel environment. The ideal situation is a lifetime commitment to love and care for the pet for its natural life.”
To find out about spay and neuter programs or how to adopt a pet, call the shelter at 256-234-5533.