GLOUCESTER, Va. (WAVY) — Twenty local animal shelters are spending their summers trying to get as many pets adopted as possible as part of a nationwide initiative called “Clear the Shelters.”
Last year, it helped more than 80,000 animals find forever homes.
At the Gloucester-Mathews Humane Society (GMHS), they have an additional goal: make the region no-kill.
“This means those pets get a chance at life,” said GMHS Executive Director Nichola Redmond.
The GMHS created a program back in 2015 called the “Highway to Home.”
Redmond said, “Our goal is to have the middle peninsula, all six counties, be no-kill. And if we can facilitate that by helping our animal control shelter partners in bringing those animals in, that’s a win-win situation for everyone.”
They’ve formed a network with 35 other shelters across the country and send animals to locations with a higher demand.
“These are shelters that, for lots of reasons, do not have a lot of animals in their shelters,” said Redmond.
In their rural community, there are plenty of animals. Redmond said, “We don’t have the population density to support, you know, everybody would have to get a new pet every year and that’s something that’s just not feasible.”
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This gives the GMHS the ability to take in animals that need extra care and attention — like Melody.
“One of the puppies has a physical deformity which can be corrected through physical therapy,” said Redmond.
She says a 90 percent save rate is considered “no-kill.” In 2017, Virginia had an 86 percent save rate, which Redmond says is extraordinary.
During the Clear the Shelters campaign at the GMHS, you can name your price on a small animal or barn cat.
“Adopters are looking for cats that can serve as mousers,” said GMHS Community Programs Manager Kristen Solada. “They can come in, we know they’ve made a living on their own outside, so we enter them into our barn cat program.”
They hope this will give all kinds of animals a second chance.
“I think sometimes people think that animals end up in a shelter because there’s something wrong with them, but that’s just not true,” said Solada. “I liken it to someone who’s lost their jobs, they’re just down on their luck and they need a second chance.”
On the last day of the campaign, August 18, GMHS will offer 50 percent off adoptions for all animals more than one year old.