Shelter Initiates Efforts to Reduce Its Kill Rate
Barbara and Kylie Boehne visited the Animal Center of Moore County with the goal of finding Kylie’s first dog.
After a few trips around the kennels to size up her options, Kylie, who will turn 4 next week, settled on a young brown mixed breed dog.
“This one is perfect,” she told her mom as she gently touched the animal.
For the Boehnes, it was a pretty traditional way to select a new pet, but not the only one.
Individuals hoping to adopt from the Animal Center of Moore County can now fill out a “wish list” for their next pet. Volun-teers then take that list and try to match it with available animals at the shelter. If they find a possible match, the volunteer can place a 24-hour hold on the animal and then contact the individual to see if they will come in to meet it.
The wish list program is part of the Pet Placement Project, a group created by the Animal Center of Moore County volunteers associated with the county’s Pet Responsibility Committee.
The wish list program, which has been running for a few weeks, is for dogs and cats and isn’t just for folks seeking pure breeds.
“One person wrote she wanted something ‘under 30 lbs. and shaggy,’” said Barb Ross, a Pet Placement Project volunteer.
Tammy Foster and Tina Kerr-Stover are volunteers who perform the walk-throughs, and each has had a successful match through the wish list program.
Foster adopted out a St. Bernard mixed breed dog to a family out of Charlotte. Kerr-Stover found a Dachshund/Chihuahua mix for a military family who recently moved to Moore County from Germany.
“When you are calling someone with a prospective match, you never know what the response will be,” Foster said. “Not everybody is ready when you call, but they were.”
Both women say they are pleased with the program’s early success, and only expect it to grow.
“The more the word goes out, the more variety of animals we get on the wish list and the more animals we find homes,” Kerr-Stover said, “and even if we can place one dog a month with a family, then that is one more dog we saved.”
Located in Carthage, the Animal Center of Moore County takes in a large number of cats and dogs daily. In 2011, the Animal Center of Moore County spent $662,000 on animal services, and nearly three of every four animals taken in were euthanized.
The Moore County Pet Responsibility Committee is a group of volunteers that helps foster adoptions from the Animal Center. In March, it created the Pet Placement Project, or P3, with the goal of increasing the adoption rate and lowering the euthanasia rate of adoptable pets at the county Animal Center.
“It is important to get the word out about the wish list,” said Angela Zumwalt, a member of the Pet Responsibility Committee. “If you don’t have someone using the wish list, you can have all the volunteers you want go through the shelter and find all the pets you want, but you won’t have anybody to match them to.”
Foster said she thinks the wish list not only makes it more convenient for prospective pet owners, but also eases the stress some may have over selecting the perfect pet because the volunteers act as screeners to help them determine a good pet based on the criteria they have requested.
In addition to the wish list, other programs initiated by the Pet Placement Project include a pet fostering program and a pet speed-dating program where a group of individuals and animals are brought together to meet each other in hopes of finding a match.
The next dog speed-dating event will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, at The Country Bookshop, 140 NW Broad St., in Southern Pines.
Al Carter, director of the Animal Center and a member of the Pet Responsibility Committee, said he is excited about the possibilities presented by all the programs.
“They are invaluable because they get the name of the Animal Center in front of people,” Carter said. “And maybe when they are ready to adopt an animal, they will think about adopting a shelter animal before going to a breeder.”
Contact Tom Embrey at (910) 693-2484 or email@example.com.
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