Target: Matthew Bershadker, CEO of the ASPCA
Goal: End the needless deaths of thousands of dogs and cats labeled unwanted.
The need for new adopters at animal shelters is endless. Often times it can seem like a losing battle when it comes to finding homes for cats and dogs. Shelter workers should be focused on finding homes for all of their animals. Unfortunately, dogs and cats termed unwanted aren’t given the extra help they need to be adopted. Black dogs and cats, seniors, and dogs with feared breed traits are all up against unfavorable odds when it comes to being adopted.
Animal shelters across the country should devote their resources to creating a program that would increase the publicity of unwanted adoptable animals. These programs would focus on making these animals more visible to the public. The shelters could take a few of the animals and make them spokespeople for the shelter. The public would then have positive interactions with the animals they once ignored in the shelters. It would also increase the chances that other dogs or cats seen as unwanted would be adopted. Many people go into shelters looking for young animals while senior pets, which make great companions, are passed over. Not everyone knows the benefits of adopting a senior pet. Shelters should be allocating resources to giving these senior pets the publicity that they need to find homes.
Increasing the visibility of these unwanted animals would increase the adoption rate and decrease the percentage of animals euthanized. Many dogs and cats that are euthanized are very healthy and have no behavioral issues. They just don’t get adopted right away and that can be a death sentence. If people knew that these animals they think of as unadoptable were actually wonderful pets, then shelters wouldn’t be facing overcrowding issues.
Many shelters are understaffed or simply don’t have the resources to devote to extra programs. There are volunteers more than happy to come to the aid of animal shelters in need. This program could be completely volunteer-funded and volunteer-run if that were necessary. Other rescue groups, especially those that may focus on more unwanted animals, could also participate in getting the word out. More adoptions would mean fewer cages and fewer expenses. While the animal shelter should be the leading force in creating this program, it doesn’t have to be the only one running the show. Please urge the ASPCA to create a visibility program for less adoptable animals.
Dear Matthew Bershadker,
Shelter visibility for many animals doesn’t exist. Dogs and cats who are older, black or those with physical traits of certain breeds are often overlooked by potential adopters. In many shelters where overcrowding is an issue, being overlooked by adopters is a death sentence. These dogs and cats aren’t given a fair chance at finding their forever homes, but this doesn’t have to be the case.
The ASPCA should lead the way and implement shelter-wide programs that help these less adoptable animals get the visibility they deserve. Volunteers and rescue groups could come together to increase the publicity of these shelter animals. Senior pets would make great people greeters at shelters or during adoption events. Dogs and cats deemed less desirable could be the cover animals of newsletters or magazines. By increasing the visibility of these animals, shelters would be increasing their adoption rates. Many people are just unaware that puppies and kittens aren’t the only good pets. A family with young kids would benefit more from an experienced and calmer animal like a senior dog or cat. But without the publicity, these animals will continue to be overlooked.
Animal shelters don’t always have the staff numbers that they need. Sometimes shelters lack resources. That’s where rescue groups and volunteers come in. The ASPCA can be the push to create these programs but it doesn’t have to stand alone.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Frank Vincentz