Dog (gone) it: Animal shelter sees record adoptions, support leading into new year

Published 6:16 am Thursday, December 29, 2016

Star Photo/Curtis Carden                           After record-breaking adoption numbers over the past two months, playful animals, like Noel, are still available at the Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter.

Star Photo/Curtis Carden
After record-breaking adoption numbers over the past two months, playful animals, like Noel, are still available at the Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter.

Even canines and felines shared smiles inside the Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter this week.
Mere days from the new year, individuals were out in full force inside the facility in the hopes of adopting up a new animal companion for their new home.
“This has been amazing,” Shelter Director Shannon Posada said Wednesday after working with a potential adopter. “This has been the first day we’ve opened back up to the public since Christmas and we have a ton of people here. We’ve been able to adopt out a handful of dogs and cats today.”
Addressing overpopulation issues, the shelter offered their second “Empty the Shelter” program over the past two months thanks to sponsorships received from independent donors in hopes of helping adoption efforts.
Proof of the program’s success is apparent walking through the entrance of the shelter. The waiting area, which previously was the home of multiple felines in cages just weeks ago, was completely clear with the animals going to homes within the region.
“We’ve had a ton of support from the citizens in the community,” Posada said. “We’ve had record adoptions with the event. We couldn’t be more pleased with the turnout of people looking to bring an animal into their home.”
The “Empty the Shelter” program concludes Monday, Jan. 2, and was at first looked at as a way to offer a discounted rate for adoptions to encourage residents to visit the facility. But during the past two months, adoption fees have been waived due to contributions. With the previous sponsorship amount running low, Posada added another donation has been received to help cover the cost of adopting out an animal for the remainder of the event.
But the event has seen the shelter turn away a few potential adopters due to circumstances that would not benefit an animal. Posada added that several of the adopters that have procured an animal from the facility have turned around and used funds that would be used for adoptions for either sponsorships for other animals or addressing needs for the adopted animal — including purchasing toys and other items.
Before adopting an animal, potential owners must fill out an application. Along with the proper paperwork, officials at the shelter attempt to set up one-on-one consultations with an interested owner to see what animal best suits the living situation, using different information including the animal’s history.
“We always encourage people to look at the different animals, but we want to do what we can to match up the right animal with the right owners,” Posada added.
After an eventful 2016 saw different changes at leadership and uncertainty of funding at one point, the end-of-the-year event has solidified enough momentum for the shelter moving forward into 2017 along with the recent announcement by county officials that shelter expansion and a van — to be used for spay/neuter — will be utilized moving forward thanks to a generous $1.2 million estate donation from the late Glenda Taylor DeLawder, which Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey alluded to in his column featured in the STAR’s recent weekend print edition.
“It was important to see the success of the event,” Posada said. “It’s been an amazing way to cap off the year and we’re excited to see what’s ahead next year. We have a lot of big plans ahead for 2017. Expansion is beginning next year, we’re working with different rescue groups and we have different events we’re working on. It’s been an exciting time and I again just want to thank the community for their support. We wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this without the community.”

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