Beyond a doubt, the best way to get animals out of animal shelters alive is with a successful adoption program. Naturally, the biggest benefit is that each adoption saves a life. Yet, there are many others that come along with adoptions that are often overlooked. For example, every time someone comes to the shelter to look for a pet, the shelter is becoming more connected to the community. This is true whether or not the person finds a new family member on that visit or not. Pet adoptions generate revenue, community good will and help empty out a shelter the right way. And that is just the beginning. A shelter with low staff and volunteer morale can be completely transformed into a fun, happy place with creative and super-charged adoption efforts. Perhaps more importantly, an animal shelter can literally adopt its way out of killing.
Years ago, deaths in animal shelters used to be blamed on the bogeyman of "pet overpopulation". More recently, however virtually all of the relevant national animal rights organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Best Friends and others have agreed that there are plenty of people in the United States able and willing to take home every pet that enters an animal shelter. There are, according to the research, about 17 million people willing to adopt, that animal shelters are simply failing to reach. They fail to reach them for the following reasons:
Shelters are often located in inconvenient places, far from where people live, work and play.
Many shelters are not open during after work hours.
Adoption criteria at shelters and rescue organizations are often overly restrictive and complicated.
Shelters are often perceived as dirty, smelly and depressing places that people do not want to visit.
Fortunately, most of these challenges can be overcome through creative marketing of pets combined with accessible adoption hours and good customer service. Here are some great ideas you can use to begin turbo-charging your adoption program.
Still not convinced? Consider the two pictures at left...
Both of these images were taken off the web pages at animal shelters. The image on the left was taken at shelter that kills. The one on the right was taken at a No Kill shelter. You can pretty much tell just from the pictures, which shelter has the better adoption program, and which has the higher save rate.