Humane Pennsylvania and our partner adoption organizations, Humane Society of Berks County and Humane League of Lancaster County, have recently been facing a novel problem. We are routinely emptying our shelters of adoptable pets.
Over the past decade, thanks to a combination of policy improvements, program development, quality and staff upgrades, and a very real demographic shift seen by animal shelters across huge swaths of the United States, we have made steady and consistent movement. First, we went from euthanizing animals routinely for space to never euthanizing strictly to make space for the next incoming animal. Then we moved to not having to euthanize for minor injuries or illnesses. Then we started saving more and more significantly injured, ill, or impaired animals. But empty cages and kennels were unheard of.
Until now. Three times in 2016 we’ve emptied our adoption centers of all adoptable animals. And not just on days when we’ve been light on animals. We’ve cleared out adoptions centers that were full to the brim. Of course, there are always more animals to replace them, as we get animals in, get them vetted and sterilized, and move them to the adoption floor.
Is the next step in our progression to have fewer and fewer pets for adoption to the point where we routinely have none? For years animal shelters disingenuously parroted that our job was to put ourselves out of business. Has spay/neuter, cruelty and relinquishment interventions, veterinary and behavioral supports, and better public awareness actually put us on the road to it? Or at least to the point where our adoption role is eclipsed by all those other programs?
We started out getting hate mail because we killed healthy animals for space. Then we moved on to hate mail because we pioneered (or at the very least were extremely early adopters of) and championed life-saving free adoption promotions. Now we get hate mail because people show up a few hours into a free adoption program day or weekend only to discover we’ve already adopted nearly everything out and there’s no “selection” for them. That’s the kind of angry email I’ll gladly take.
Humane Pennsylvania is about to enter into our next round of long-term strategic planning. It is surreal that one of the things we need to plan for is how to we do better than adopting them all.
We have our staff, volunteers, and, of course, everyone who adopts, to thank for this new and welcome problem. But we couldn’t do this without some significant donors and supports. These are the people and businesses who generously underwrite our adoption promotion weekends so that we don’t lose critical adoption revenue while we are clearing out our adoption centers. If you know any of these generous people or patronize their businesses, please share your appreciation with them for helping to make what was once a pipedream become- someday- commonplace.
Recent Adoption Promotion Weekend Supporters – Thank you!
Dr. Chris Cooke & Meredith Jorgenson
Top Flite Realty
Auman Funeral Home
Berks Plastic Surgery
Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad
Edi Young & David Lounsbury
Muller Rare Coins & Fine Jewelry
Alan & Melissa Jo Schlechter
Would you or your business like to join this life-saving list? Please contact Brian Pinto, Chief Advancement Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org!