April 16, 2024

Bowlingual Dog

Animal Planet Directory

San Diego’s Helen Woodward Animal Center halves fees for March as pet adoptions dip nationwide

As a result of a nationwide shortage in people adopting shelter animals, the Helen Woodward Animal Shelter announced on Friday that it was cutting adoption fees in half and providing food, litter, pet supplies and even gas cards to adopters during the month of March.

The intent is to incentivize adoptions during a record low in pet adoptions from coast to coast — causing a “startling jump” in the number of orphan dogs and cats euthanized in other parts of the country. `

The Woodward Center, in Rancho Santa Fe, has placed its focus on transporting in orphan pets from outside of San Diego County, where local laws have made the area a safer place for shelter pets by enacting no-kill ordinances and spay-and-neuter laws.

But, with fewer pets being adopted, there is less room at the Helen Woodward Animal Center to bring pets from out of the area.

“The situation is very serious,” said LaBeth Thompson, center pet acquisition manager. “We are having to turn down partners we have worked with for years and years. They are in tears and, frankly, we are, too.

“We simply can’t bring in more animals if we don’t have the space for them, and the number of potential adopters coming through the doors is the lowest we’ve seen in years,” she said. “We’re hearing the same thing from shelters across the country.”

According to the Shelter Animals Count report, shelter euthanasia across the country increased by 64% in 2023, a result of nearly 1 million fewer adoptions than the previous year.

Though no-kill laws keep pets alive in San Diego County, the drop in adoptions means that shelter dogs and cats spend weeks, months and even years in kennels — gradually becoming harder to place.

Inflation and a difficult political atmosphere has made potential adopters more cautious about bringing in a new life and responsibility to their homes, a statement from the center read.

“It’s extremely important to me that the message is not that we are discounting these precious lives,” Woodward Center CEO Mike Arms said. “We will still have the same rigorous screening and interview process to ensure that these pets are being placed with caring pet owners. The center’s adoption fees have always been a way to remind families that pets are a responsibility and an investment.

“However, the extreme loss of lives across the country is too unbearable to ignore,” Arms said. “If we can help families dealing with higher costs and tighter budgets, we want to want to do our part in making it more affordable to bring dogs and cats into loving homes. That movement will open up kennel space and allow us to pull more orphan pets from high-kill locations, saving more lives.”

Throughout the month of March, Helen Woodward Animal Center will be open seven days a week, adoption fees will be cut in half, Blue Buffalo will provide a 4-pound bag of puppy food, Naturally Fresh will provide a bag of cat litter, Kahoots Pet and Feed Store will provide a $10 gift card, and the first 100 adopters will receive a $25 gas card.

The center encourages families who can’t adopt to consider fostering. For more information on pets available and how to adopt or foster, go to www.animalcenter.org or stop by at 6461 El Apajo Road in Rancho Santa Fe.