Shelters offer adoption specials to find homes for pets - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Shelters offer adoption specials to find homes for pets

Rebecca Stevens is the director of the Hamilton County Humane Society. Rebecca Stevens is the director of the Hamilton County Humane Society.

Mary Milz/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - Animal shelters desperate to alleviate crowding issues are offering adoption specials. But some worry when animals are priced too low to go, they're sometimes more apt to come back.

Like many shelters, the Hamilton County Humane Society is busting at the seams. It has 600 animals, mostly cats, in need of homes.

Shelter director Rebecca Stevens pointed to the lobby and said, "It's every corner, there are crates three high and not a spot to put an animal."

The humane society will host a special adoption event on Sunday, August 2, in which cats will be available for $25 a piece (down from as much as $75). Other shelters have also been offering adoption specials. The Indianapolis Humane Society charged $17.76 per pet the first week of July, while Indianapolis Animal Care and Control charged just $4 per pet July 4th. The event drew long lines and enthusiastic crowds.
At the time, shelter director Doug Rae said, "It's a bit ridiculous. I've done this in Philadelphia, Baltimore and I've never had the numbers we're seeing here today."

Animal Care and Control adopted a record 153 animals that day.

One man waiting in line said, "We've been talking about it a long time so $4 brought us out here today."

But some of the were animals wound up being returned or brought to places like Hamilton County, which has a no-kill policy. Stevens said she wasn't surprised, noting that "you've done everything right...and sometimes it just doesn't work out."
But Stevens also believes you can go too low when it comes to fees.
"There has to be some financial barrier to ensure people are thinking about the decision," she said. "It's an important life commitment."

Christine Jescke with the Indianapolis Humane Society agreed. She said while a lower fee may get people in the door, they want to make sure they leave with a good match. It's why the Humane Society requires people to fill out applications, go through an interview process and agree to a follow-up call.

Jescke said 141 animals were adopted during their July promotion with just three returned. She said their normal return rates are closer to 10 percent.

Kim Anders, who fosters kittens for the Hamilton County Humane Society, said she was "kind of on the fence" when it comes to promotions. While Anders wants to see more animals find homes, she worries about those who adopt on impulse.

"Animals are not disposable, they're living, loving creatures," she said. "And yes, sometimes the fee isn't high, but there are costs incurred later on [in caring for that pet]."

Rae recently called his adoptathon "a big success."  Though he wasn't sure how many animals were returned, he said most remained in their new homes. 

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