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Animal shelters adoptions spike as more people stay home

(Source: WRDW)
(Source: WRDW)(WRDW)
Published: Apr. 22, 2020 at 7:37 PM EDT
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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

News 12 at 6 o'clock/NBC at 7

AUGUSTA, GA. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Animal shelters expected to take a huge hit when states started closing nonessential businesses due to the pandemic. But a rise in adoptions blew their expectations out of the water.

When places around the country started shutting down, local animal shelters began to think the worst.

"We were really concerned that these dogs and cats were gonna just sit here--that we weren't gonna have as much presence here, people were gona be locked down not looking for a pet," Kathy Jacobs, programs coordinator for Friend of the Aike Animal Shelter, said.

They expected numbers to drop --

"It's been a huge increase," Jacobs said.

Shelters have seen the complete opposite.

"We've seen a lot of adoptions and they've actually been staying in their homes because they've had that time to train them and get them used to their new surroundings," Claire Grimes, communications director, SPCA Albrecht Center, said.

The Albrecht Center never officially closed because they offer vet services, but they've limited who can come inside in an effort to keep people safe.

"We ask that only adopters and vital volunteers come in," Grimes said.

In the past month, they've adopted out 89 animals. This time last year, only 48 animals were adopted.

"It's been really humbling to see," Grimes said.

The Aiken County Animal Shelter also started doing drive up appointments so people can meet their dogs.

"They're driving here from all over. We have people driving three hours to come get dogs that used to sit in a kennel for weeks without any attention," Jacobs said. "I would say 9 out of 10 go home with that person."

And the rise in adoptions couldn't have come at a better time. April is usually a month where shelters see a huge spike in animals coming in.

And keeping the shelters clear keeps them ready for when the pandemic passes.

"After all this is over we're preparing for a giant influx of animals coming in," Grimes said.

Alongside other businesses, the Albrecht Center is also re-opening their thrift store tomorrow. The store accounts for more than 80 percent of the shelter's revenue.

Augusta Animal Services has stopped adoptions completely during this time but is looking to reopen when the pandemic passes.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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