Low-cost adoption event reduces pet population at Farmington shelter

National event was underwritten by BISSELL Pet Foundation

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
  • The promotion took place May 5-9 at 200 shelter and rescue operations across the United States, including the Farmington shelter.
  • Pet adoption fees were lowered to $5 during the event.
  • The shelter is being reimbursed $50 for every cat that was adopted and $100 for every dog.

FARMINGTON — More than 75 animals found a new home during last week's low-cost Empty the Shelters adoption event at the Farmington Regional Animal Shelter.

The shelter's animal welfare director, Stacie Voss, said 55 dogs, 21 cats and one rabbit were adopted during the event. Adoption fees were lowered to $5, thanks to the national sponsorship of the BISSELL Pet Foundation. The promotion took place May 5-9 at 200 shelter and rescue operations across the United States, including the Farmington shelter.

"Everything went really well," Voss said. "In fact, we wish we'd had a few more animals to adopt."

Voss said every cat the shelter had available was adopted by the end of the event, but approximately 25 dogs were left. By May 12, that number already had swelled to 35, she said, a sign of how quickly the shelter's population can multiply.

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The recent Empty the Shelters low-cost pet adoption event at the Farmington Regional Animal Shelter resulted in more than 75 animals finding a home.

Under the terms of the grant the shelter received from the BISSELL foundation, Voss said the shelter is being reimbursed $50 for every cat that was adopted and $100 for every dog to underwrite the cost of the event. She said the shelter would receive that funding once it completed the applicable paperwork and submitted it to the foundation.

The Farmington shelter has held similar low-cost or no-cost adoption events in the past and enjoyed a similar level of success. But this was the first year the event has been sponsored by BISSELL, and Voss plans to apply for the grant again next year.

"Yeah, I think so," she said. "This came at a good time for us, when we start to creep up with our numbers."

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, potential adopters were asked to make an appointment to visit the shelter and inspect the animals. Voss said that didn't present any issues during the event, especially since the shelter has been operating under that model since the pandemic began.

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She did say some people made appointments and did not show up, and that allowed room for some walk-ins to be accommodated.

Voss said the pandemic has had a noticeable impact on the shelter's numbers over the past 14 months. She said the percentage of the shelter's animals that were adopted increased when the pandemic began, while its intake numbers declined — a trend that has been repeated at many shelters across the country.

"There weren't as many animals available for adoption," she said.

Voss said that in addition to leaving the shelter with more space, that situation also allowed the staff to spend more time on education programs, treating animals for heartworm disease and beefing up the foster kitten program.

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She attributed the lower intake numbers to the fact that fewer people were surrendering animals since they had more time to spend at home during the pandemic. And she said people who bring in stray animals were being encouraged by the shelter staff to hold on to those animals for an extra couple of days in hopes their owner would show up to claim them.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription.