Animal welfare

Sand Springs animal welfare officials hope there’s more to the ‘Empty the Shelters’ event than just a name

Animal shelters and rescue groups have traditionally breathed the smallest sigh of relief each year as fall arrives. While the challenges never completely go away, overcoming the nightmare of “kitten and puppy season” every year is a big milestone.

But animal rescue experts fear those sighs of relief are a thing of the past.

Shelters are seeing a growing number of abandoned pets due to the economy and the housing crisis, according to the Bissell Pet Foundation.

More stray animals are being brought in every day, regardless of the season, and more adoptable animals are being euthanized than have been in the past, as shelters are simply too full for everyone. host.

It’s in this battle-weary perspective that Sand Springs Animal Welfare Coordinator Tracy Arvidson sees the tiniest ray of hope – the Bissell Pet’s National Fall “Empty the Shelters” event. Foundation.

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More than 280 animal shelters in 42 states will be offering discounted adoptions during the Oct. 1-8 event.

“Empty the Shelters” is the nation’s largest funded adoption event and has helped find homes for more than 117,615 pets in 47 states and Canada since its inception in 2016.

As part of the “Empty the Shelters” campaign, the Bissell Pet Foundation subsidizes a portion of adoption costs at participating shelters, letting adopters pay no more than $50 per pet.

In the Tulsa area, Sand Springs Animal Welfare is joined by the Humane Society of Tulsa and the Washington County SPCA in Bartlesville in participation.

“Empty Shelter events work well for us,” Arvidson said.

She said the Sand Springs shelter was as full today as it had been for several months.

Twice since mid-June, the shelter has sounded the alarm that it is about to have to euthanize healthy, adoptable pets simply because of capacity issues.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, euthanasia of healthy, adoptable cats and dogs in U.S. shelters had recently fallen to an all-time low, but the Bissell Pet Foundation said in July that the rate euthanasia of homeless dogs had increased by 22. % in the first quarter of 2022 alone.

Although the Sand Springs shelter technically has more cats and kittens than dogs at the moment, it is able to house more cats in a single enclosure because litters of kittens can be kept together.

“With dogs, we have to keep them more separated because of fights over food,” Arvidson said, “so we’re actually more overcrowded with dogs.”

She said ahead of last fall’s “Empty the Shelters” event that potential adopters through Sand Springs Animal Welfare fill out an adoption contract and are interviewed at the shelter so staff members can try to match them with the good pet.

Plus, adopting through the shelter is pretty much a risk-free proposition, Arvidson said. If by chance the match does not work out, adopters can return the animal to the shelter.

However, even the most successful matches can use a helping hand, and that’s where resources from the haven come in.

Along with an adoption package that includes neutering or neutering and vaccinations, a free month of coverage through a pet insurance group, and a free week of online behavior training, shelter staff members can help. adopters find resources such as trainers, groomers, and other necessities.

Shelter staff members also periodically email adopters to check in and make sure everything is going well, Arvidson said.

Cathy Bissell, who founded the Bissell Pet Foundation in 2011, said, “It’s been a tough year for animal shelters across our country. The devastating increase in owner abandonment has left thousands of socialized, house-trained and leash-trained pets desperate to find homes.

“Our fall ‘Empty the Shelters’ will support the adoption of thousands of pets across the country, helping shelters during this critical time,” she said. “Opening your home to a rescue animal saves a life and creates space to give another animal a chance.”