MIAMI COUNTY — From under 70 percent just a few years ago, the number of shelter animals adopted or reunited with their families has increased dramatically in the last few years.
In 2015, the Miami County Animal Shelter’s overall adoption rate was 94 percent.
“I’m very proud of that,” shelter director Marcia Doncaster said. That number also includes lost pets that were returned to their families.
Doncaster says the shelter has worked very hard to change that number, which was much lower when she started working there about five and half years ago.
“It was about 67 percent when I started,” she said. Some of that has to do with the fact that the state no longer prohibits pit bull adoptions, Doncaster said. “After that, euthanasia rates really dropped.”
In 2015, almost 900 dogs came through the Miami County Animal Shelter, including those that were picked up stray or surrendered by owners.
The shelter lists adoptable pets on adoptapet.com and sometimes works with rescues to get animals adopted, Doncaster said.
The shelter never euthanizes animals because they’ve been at the shelter for “too long,” she explained.
“No animal here has a time limit,” she said.
While adoption rates are up, this is the time of year when people who adopt animals for Christmas surrender them to the shelter, Doncaster said.
“They think that pets make a wonderful gift, but a lot of times they don’t realize that animals aren’t just a gift,” she said. “They’re a part of the family.”
Doncaster says the number of four-legged Christmas presents returned isn’t huge — 39 animals were returned after Christmas of 2014 — but it does happen at the same time every year.
“It’s not a huge number, but we’d rather it be none.”
Many times people adopt puppies for their children without taking house training into account, she explained.
“‘It’s just not working out,’ that’s the response we get. So they bring them back,” she said. It’s rare that people in these cases surrender an animal because it was aggressive, she added.
The shelter always stresses to prospective adopters that a new pet is a big responsibility, especially around the holidays, Doncaster said.
“Animals live for 10 or 15 years,” she said. “Don’t make a snap decision.”
To find out more about the animal shelter and its services, including dog licenses and the shelter volunteer program, visit the county’s website at www.co.miami.oh.us and go to the animal shelter’s page.
Reach Cecilia Fox at [email protected] or at (937) 552-2205.