Area animal shelters are reporting increases in adoption rates this summer, which is typically the shelters’ busiest time for picking up strays and finding them caring homes, officials say.
Many shelter officials say that the summer is always a challenging time for animal control, but they credit their promotional efforts online and in the community for the positive changes in adoption rates.
However, they want county residents to know that there are many animals that still need a home.
Some area shelters have turned to creating Facebook pages or boosting their efforts on social media by providing high-quality photos and videos of their animals to entice potential adopters.
“Facebook has been huge. It’s a powerful tool,”said Bob Matthews, the owner of All American Dogs.
All American Dogs is a Pilot Point-based animal shelter that serves about 15 cities, including Aubrey, Krugerville, Sanger,Krum, Shady Shores and Valley View.
“It’s a very extensive list, and it’s growing,”Matthews said
All American Dogs’ Facebook page has more than9,800 fans. And Facebook pages of other area animal shelters. including Lake Dallas, Denton and Hickory Creek, continue to draw supporters.
“Facebook has really changed how we do things,”Matthews said. “Now it’s easier for people to see what pets we have and contact us.”
The Denton Animal Shelter has seen an increase in adoptions and officials credit a drop in the shelter’s adoption fee, which tookeffect in July.
The city dropped the fee from about $120 to $60,which includes spaying/neutering, shots and vet care.
“It’s almost a $200 value and now we have a steady stream of people coming in to adopt,” kennel supervisor Gayla Nelsen said. “We used to offer that price only on the weekends, but now residents can come in any day, and it has really helped with finding every animal a home.”
Officials also credit much of their success to their volunteers, who assist with helping pets find a home.
Most shelters have a team of about five to six volunteers to help out with walking animals, feeding them, cleaning and conducting other daily tasks. Denton even has the Denton Animal Shelter Foundation to assist with the city’s efforts.
“I don’t know what we would do without our volunteers,” said K.C. Epperson, Hickory Creek animal services officer. “They donate their time to help out with things we don’t normally have time to do.”
Area shelter officials said it would be impossible to take care of all of the animals without the help of residents who volunteer each week.
Epperson said the Hickory Creek Animal Shelter has several services to inform the community about adoptions and pet care, and the town has a program that allows people to sponsor a pet to increase its chances for adoption.
In the program, a sponsor pays up to half of a pet’s adoption fee. More information about Hickory Creek’s services can be found at www.hickorycreekanimalshelter.org
Hickory Creek officials also received a new tool just in time for summer to help transport animals. The town got a new truck in the spring after receiving a $25,000 grant from the Petco Foundation.
“We had an old 1999 Ford F-150 that didn’t meet our needs,” said Public Works Director Jeffrey McSpedden. “We’re really fortunate now because this truck makes K.C.’s life a little easier.”
Despite changes for the better this season,officials said there is still more work to do.
“We want people to know that we have animals year-round that need homes,” McSpedden said. “There’s always a need to find each animal a home.”
Local animal shelter websites list more than 130pets without a home, which is typical for this time of year, shelter officials say. Most animals mate during the winter and spring months, so during the summer, shelters experience an increase in animal intakes, Matthews said. He said his shelter is on track to take in about 1,400 animals by the end of this year.
“Luckily, adoption rates are higher to offset the number of intakes,” he said.
He said All American Dogs plans to construct another building to help it rescue more animals and reduce the chances of being over capacity.
For more information about local animal services,call 940-349-7594 for Denton, 972-382-9647 for All American Dogs, 940-497-7090for Lake Dallas and 940-465-7444 for Hickory Creek.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.