Pet of the week

By Kari Kuh

DBCHS

2021 is off to a great start at DBCHS: all of our adoptable animals found loving homes last week! So, instead of reading about a featured pet today, let’s take a look back at the year we just left behind.

2020 was unusual, to say the least. Thanks to the hard-working staff and our compassionate community, DBCHS powered through, although there were some worrying moments. When shelter-in-place orders were instituted last March, a ripple of concern ran through animal welfare organizations: What will happen to the dogs and cats in our community?

Stay-at-home advisories came with restrictions on in-person gatherings. To animal shelters and humane societies, that meant no volunteers. If we can’t invite people into our building, how will we socialize the kittens or adequately supervise dogs playing together in the yard? Even more concerning, how can we adopt our animals without exposing people to undue risk? The race was on to get as many pets out of the shelter and into homes as quickly and safely as possible.

Thankfully, across the country and here in Boyle County, animal lovers stepped up. In March and April, you fostered animals for us, giving them the tender loving care they needed to be ready for a new home. Animals in foster care are adopted more quickly because they are happy, relaxed, and we know more about their personalities. Some fosters turned into adopters, and all of our available animals found new homes in record time. The proof is in the photo of our empty kennels from last April.

It’s not surprising that you stepped up; we have long enjoyed – and are eternally grateful for! – a supportive community. However, an exciting and unexpected outcome of the pandemic is that shelter intake drastically decreased last year. Typically shelters see a significant influx of owner surrenders and stray animals during spring and summer months.

Last year, intake was down 30-50% on average from previous years. More people staying at home translated into more animals staying in their homes, too! Visit https://www.shelteranimalscount.org/ for details on data from DBCHS as well as organizations nationwide.

Overall, despite – and in some cases because – of the pandemic, 2020 was a good year for companion animals. At DBCHS, we adopted more than 375 animals into loving homes (including horses). Dogs’ and cats’ length of stay at the shelter was shorter than ever, with some animals being adopted the first day they were available!

We also reunited more than 100 lost pets with their relieved families and performed free or low-cost spay and neuter surgery on more than 1,000 owned and community cats.

These accomplishments result from close collaboration with the Boyle County Fiscal Court and animal control staff, plus valuable partnerships with local businesses, magnanimous donors, generous grantors, and YOU.

Thank you for all you do to support DBCHS and companion animals in Boyle County. Here’s to a pawsome 2021!