In a newspaper interview, Montgomery Humane Society’s executive director Steven Tears lamented the number of dogs being surrendered lately, especially the ones over 50 pounds:
Only one name [on the adoption board] belongs to a bigger dog, one of more than two dozen medium-to-large dogs up for adoption at the Montgomery animal shelter’s main facility. And down a short walkway out of sight, dozens more are waiting in an intake and processing area for a chance to take their place while a stretched staff assesses and cares for them.
Those that make it through three levels of staging and waiting areas may get a chance to meet people interested in adoption.
By early this month the shelter had so many surrenders that they posted a plea for help on social media. They held a weekend adoption event, and a donor helped offset the fees that are usually associated with adoptions. They found homes for 79 animals at that event, mostly cats, kittens and puppies.
The day after the event, they euthanized 30 big dogs.
“We tried everything. Their adoption fees were next to nothing,” Tears said.
“We’re battling compassion fatigue, for sure.”https://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/story/news/2021/07/27/montgomery-animal-shelter-overwhelmed-return-pandemic-pets/8039234002/
Well, Montgomery Humane didn’t try everything. Here are some things they can and should try immediately:
1. List every pet, including those on any kind of processing or other hold, in foster care or with an adoption pending, online with a photo. When I looked up Montgomery Humane’s adoptables and filtered for dogs, the first page showed roughly half the listings with no photo. Adopters don’t fall in love with a name. Get that photo, no excuses.
2. Let potential adopters who come in looking for a pet meet as many dogs as possible, preferably all of them. There might be a case where a dog is very ill, severely injured or otherwise compromised and should not have visits from the public. That’s understandable and acceptable so long as the dog’s photo and info are listed on the shelter’s website and in the lobby. Other than that, stop obstructing the chances for adoption by locking dogs up in the back room. No one can fall in love with a dog who is literally “out of sight”.
3. Hold more weekend adoption events – every weekend, Saturday and Sunday. Montgomery Humane adopted out 79 pets at the one mentioned in the article – that’s great. More of those, definitely.
4. Take killing off the table and let the world know. Once killing for space is no longer happening, I’m betting staff and volunteers (which there will be more of) will not be suffering from compassion fatigue to the extent they are right now. Killing is the enemy of compassion and the opposite of sheltering. Look at the many open admission no kill shelters around the country for model programs.
5. Instead of offering reduced adoption fees, offer pay-what-you-will adoption fees. Try it for a month, see how it goes. If it’s helping to get pets into homes, try it for another month. Some adopters will pay less than your regular fee, some will pay more. Allow them to determine the donation amount that fits their budget.
Anyway, that’s enough of me prattling on. Montgomery Humane staff and volunteers probably have their own ideas about how to adopt their way out of killing. Right? I just hope they implement them before any more pets are killed.