Kodiak Daily Mirror - Crowding grows at Kodiak Animal Shelter
  
Crowding grows at Kodiak Animal Shelter
by Wes Hanna / whanna@kodiakdailymirror.com
Oct 18, 2011 | 153 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A calico manx named Angel is seen at the Kodiak Animal Shelter Monday afternoon, Oct. 17, 2011. The shelter says it is running at capacity.
(Wes Hanna photo)
A calico manx named Angel is seen at the Kodiak Animal Shelter Monday afternoon, Oct. 17, 2011. The shelter says it is running at capacity. (Wes Hanna photo)
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KODIAK — For the past three months, Kodiak Animal Shelter manager Nicole Schwan has seen more pets surrendered to the shelter than adopted.

She estimates that for each three animals dropped off, only one is finding a new home, leading to an overabundance of both dogs and cats at the Mill Bay Road building.

During June, for example, the shelter collected 29 pets — about one each day — while adoptions were lower than usual for the same period.

Many of the recent drop-offs were given up due to economic reasons, Schwan said. A familiar story for her to hear is of a family giving up a house for an apartment that doesn’t allow pets.

There’s also the cost of keeping a pet, which includes veterinary care in addition to food, litter box supplies and treats.

The animal shelter is working to increase adoptions through promotions, including a pet of the week and a pet of the month feature at its website. There’s also outreach through Facebook, newsletter features, promotion packages for cat adoptions and reduced fees for cat and dog adoptions.

Noticing how certain cats tend to get along and play well together, the shelter has devised two-for-one “purr-fect pair” adoptions to get more cats into homes. Difficult-to-adopt pets — older cats and dogs and long-term residents — come with adoption benefits like a free bag of food.

Schwan stressed that to keep the shelter’s “no kill” policy, there needs to be a balance in pets coming in and going out. She said the shelter goes to great lengths to maintain the policy of not euthanizing pets unless they are too aggressive to adopt, but it takes community support.

Often people surrendering animals first ask if the Kodiak Animal Shelter is a no-kill shelter, Schwan said.

The Kodiak animal shelter also is looking or foster homes, in which volunteers care for an animal at home before it is permanently adopted. The home environment is beneficial for animals and fostering gives the shelter staff more information about how a pet will behave away from the shelter.

There are other ways to help the shelter if a pet at home is an impossibility.

“Volunteer dog walkers are a necessity right now,” Schwan said, especially as the weather gets colder and an outside dog run is being renovated with a concrete floor. The shelter accepts volunteers as young as 13.

Contact Mirror writer Wes Hanna at whanna@kodiakdailymirror.com.
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