In an attempt to help with the overcrowding of local animal shelters, First State Animal Center and SPCA (FSAC-SPCA ) will waive adoption fees for adult cats and dogs more than 6 months of age during the month of August. Serving the national organization ASPCA, the local chapter is part of the ASPCA Rachel Ray Adoption Challenge, which began on June 1 and will run through August 31. The competition aims to inspire animal shelters, and those who support them, to go above and beyond to increase pet adoption, reunite lost pets with their families and save more animals’ lives.
“We work diligently to comply with the unfunded mandates expected of us, one of those with the biggest impact is accepting all homeless cats and dogs that we have room for,” said J. Kevin Usilton, Executive Director. “This has brought us to a place where we have more animals than we really have space for, so we’ve decided to waive the adoption fees just for the month of August for our adoptable animals.”
Currently, the FSAC-SPCA has 130 available animals for adoption, including 71 cats, 60 dogs, two rabbits, a hamster, and a small pony. The center is holding more than 200 animals waiting for either adoption, return to lost owner, or euthanasia. Usilton said that many participating animal shelters in the Challenge have waived their adoption fees during a timeframe to help adopt out the animals in their care, so this can be a normal practice.
“Also, we are firm believers that an animal will do much better in the care of a loving home and family, instead of spending its life in shelter, regardless of how well the animal center cares for it,” he said, noting that the animals are extremely well cared for at FSAC-SPCA. Usilton noted that all potential adoptive families and individuals will still have to qualify for the adoption and go through the adoption screening and be prepared to wait in line possibly. The adoption fee waiver will be in effect until the end of August, or until all adoptable animals are adopted, whichever comes first.
Lisa Strong Chase, director of development and marketing for the FSAC-SPCA, says this is an extremely generous move on the Center’s part. “Every adoptable animal that is placed on the adoption list is vaccinated, spayed or neutered and microchipped, which costs us about $150 per animal,” she said. “That doesn’t include the board and food costs. Our fund-raising appeals quote $1,000 can cover the cost of a dog’s stay in the kennel, from the intake date to the adoption date, if the dog is in for a few months. For a cat, it is $500.”
The August special applies to the main shelter, located at 32 Shelter Circle in Camden, DE, PetSmart in North Dover, and all adoption events. The waived fees apply only while the center has available animals for adoption, and only for the month of August 2014. “This will help us hopefully find wonderful forever homes for the animals in our care,” said Chase. “I think it is also a gift to the community, which has been so supportive of our efforts.”