Abandoned pets are now being adopted faster at the Society for the Improvement of Conditions for Stray Animals in the Dayton, Ohio suburb of Kettering after some adoption policies were changed.
According to Terry Carlisle, executive director of SICSA, he was just a client of SICSA, which opened in 1974, before he became the director. He was able to adopt cats and dogs from the shelter, so he assumed it was also easy for other clients to adopt animals from the shelter.
But when he became SICSA executive director, he found out that a lot of prospective adoptive pet owners were discouraged from pursuing their pet adoption plans because of the strict rules at SICSA.
So Carlisle studied the rules and made changes to make the process of pet adoption an enjoyable experience for customers. One major change is the elimination of the fence requirement for people adopting dogs. Previously, prospective dog owners need to build a fenced yard before they can adopt a dog. Carlisle believed that giving abandoned dogs to people taking time and effort to apply as adoptive dog owners is much better than keeping them in cages at the shelter.
Carlisle also assigned a shelter employee to greet visitors and to tell guests they are free to wander around and look for a pet they like from among the abandoned pets in the shelter. Previously, guests are escorted around.
Interview time with guests has also been cut down from one hour to only about 20 minutes. Adoption fees were also increased to raise funds for the neuter and spay program of the shelter and at the same time help dispel the impression that purebred pets from shelters are damaged so they are cheaper.
But despite the fee changes, the adoption fee for purebred dogs – between $300 and $400 – is still less than 50 percent of the price for purebreds at pet stores. For other pet dogs, the fee is $145.
Since the policy changes, annual shelter revenue has increased from $93,000 to nearly $103,000 in 2009.
SICSA has also responded to the difficult situations of financially struggling pet owners and of people buying foreclosed homes for sale with abandoned animals in them.
Struggling pet owners can work at SICSA for ten dollars an hour to be able to reclaim their lost pets or request for a free supply of pet food for a certain period.
Meanwhile, the Animal Resource Center of Montgomery County, where part of Kettering is located, has reduced its adoption fees to be able to have more animals adopted and help more abandoned pets.