ARL: Good year for pets
Friday, February 8, 2013
The Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire took in 2,420 animals in 2012. This is an increase of 122 animals from 2011. One of the more remarkable statistics is that our average length of stay for an animal dropped from 47 days in 2009 to just 20 days in 2012. This means animals are being adopted faster than ever and more people are choosing adoption rather than buying purebred puppies and kittens. This is great news for shelters. The paradigm is certainly shifting.
If you walk into the shelter, it hardly looks like we service almost 2,500 animals in a year. Most of the cat cages are empty, dogs are able to stretch out into two kennels, and the lobby isn’t nearly as full as it is during the summer months. So, what’s going on? Where are all the animals?
Each year, typically between January-March, the League experiences a decrease in animal intakes and the general animal population within the shelter.
There are many contributing factors to these statistics that are shared by many other shelters in New England:
First, we see a drop in kittens entering the shelter due to the reproductive nature of cats. Second, we see fewer surrenders coming in during this time. Third, we get fewer stray cats during this time.
“The good news is that empty cages may mean some of our preventative programs are taking effect,” chief operating officer Lindsay Hamrick said. “The more we spay and neuter and educate the public about responsible pet ownership, the fewer the number of animals that will need our services. We do not expect to be out of a job anytime in the near future but it is a welcome relief to see a light at the end of the tunnel each winter.”
Rest assured, the ARL-NH continues to help hundreds of animals. Our outreach program sees a continuous intake of animals throughout the year and we are actively collaborating with the Friends of Manchester Animal Shelter to continue transferring rabbits recently removed from a cruelty situation. We are also able to bring in local surrenders faster while still providing exceptional customer service during this often difficult emotional process.
The ARL also uses this time to improve and develop more preventative programs. We have more time to work with animals who find it challenging to adjust to the shelter environment.
“It’s a very satisfying time of year and allows us to work more on the big picture,” Hamrick said. “This will not be the case in July when we have over 200 cats in the building.”
The ARL is at 545 Route 101 in Bedford. For more information, visit www.rescueleague.org.