improve adoption rates, and those shelters that have been putting in the effort have been enjoying the relief and the joy that comes from increased adoptions. (Linked: Animal Farm Foundation's smart 'Turbo Charging Pit Bull Adoptions' info)
A sour economy and ongoing housing challenges are harder to solve, and as the pressures they bring wreck havoc on under-resourced pet owners, the need for shelter kennels and rescue spots stays steady. Inquiries from Good Samaritans who pluck strays from the streets and stressed families with dogs they're unable to keep bring a daily pile-up in rescuers' mailboxes, and a daily heartbreak, too.
Right: This mixed breed dog was living under a truck when a Good Samaritan got involved. She told us,"I'm trying my darnedest to find him a home (facebook, contacting rescues, talking to friends) to figure it out." Her story repeats itself thousands of times a day across the country, in every mailbox in every rescue group.
To help those Good Sams and desperate families navigate the frustrations of re-homing a dog (any kind of dog, actually) we asked 2000 pit bull adopters to tell us how they came to find their dog(s), and we wove what we learned into a new webpage called Adoption Strategies. It's not for shelters - although some will certainly find it useful. It's for the Average Joe who can't understand why rescues aren't returning his emails, and how the hec is he ever going to find his dog a decent home?
99 out of 2006 people who answered our survey have had to give up a dog. Reasons included: Landlord rejection, family problems, regional laws (BSL), unable to find pet-friendly housing (after pressures such as foreclosure and military deployment), unable to manage some of the dog's behaviors, illness/death in the family, life changes.
Some of what we learned about adoption trends...
Shelters Take the Lead
An overwhelming majority of participants reported that they fell in love with their pit bull at a city or county run shelter. This would not have been true ten years ago, when pit bulls were MIA from many shelter adoption programs. That lack of adoptables, combined with unfounded myths about the 'defective' nature of shelter dogs sucked dog lovers like a big vacuum straight to backyard breeders for unaltered pets. How times have changed.
While popular spots like Petfinder.org are helping draw a majority of shelter and rescue adopters to their new pets, Petfinder no longer allows Good Samaritans and desperate families to post dog-in-need ads. Facebook and Craigslist seem to be filling that void though, and both now serve as the onine go-to places to find a new dog, ranking just behind the adoption pages of shelters and rescue groups in our survey.
Our new question: How can we match more dog-shoppers up with homeless dogs so our communities can rely less on overcrowded shelters? Miles to go before we sleep!
Link to the SURVEY
Link to Adoption Strategies PAGE
Where to go to get homeless dogs noticed is only half the battle. Families and Good Sams have to brush up fast on marketing must-knows so their dogs stand out from the crowd ... Easier said than done when English is not your first language and feeding the kids and working more than one job gets in the way of shooting cute dog photos.
Feel free to share this info-page with your favorite non-profits who, like us, get a dizzying amount of mail from very good people asking very good questions about best ways to re-home very good pets.
Let's Discuss. BADRAP will be presenting on ways to curb the flow of incoming dogs at The Animal Care Conference in Sacramento on Monday, February 25. Please join us if you work in the animal welfare world and, like us, are ready to look at ways to prevent dogs from coming in the door.