By guest writer Amber Adams
National Pet Week, which starts today, Sunday, and runs until next Saturday, is a great opportunity to highlight some of the ways in which citizens’ support allows the county animal shelter to make a positive impact on the lives of thousands of loving pets.
The shelter, the largest, most modern and best-equipped animal shelter in the county and officially known as the animal resource center, or ARC, provides animal services to the residents of Bayou Vista, Hitchcock, Kemah, La Marque, Texas City, Tiki Island and unincorporated Galveston County.
At the shelter, we often ask for your help promoting pets on social media – and you always answer the call! Collectively, our Facebook posts have now achieved more than a million views, tens of thousands of shares and countless likes. Social-media posts, more community organizations welcoming us to their events and adoption specials funded by BootKikkers Bingo are huge factors in ARC adoptions being up 20 per cent from five years ago.
It takes a special person to volunteer to take an animal into their home until a permanent one can be found, especially when the pet needs medical care. That’s exactly what rescue groups do and they’re vital to our success. We’ve worked with more than 300 such groups, resulting in a five-per-cent increase in animals sent to rescues during the past five years.
Realizing your pet has escaped his home is terrifying. When one of our animal-control officers picks up a lost animal, our goal is to find its owner and send the furbaby home, a task that’s so much easier when the pet is microchipped.
Over the past five years, the number of ARC pets returned to owners has increased by five per cent. We think that has a lot to do with responsible owners microchipping their pets, as is now required by regulation in the communities we serve.
The biggest obstacle for any animal shelter is pet overpopulation. That’s why we’re so proud that our adoption fee includes spaying or neutering, in addition to a rabies vaccination and a microchip.
This means that pets adopted from ARC won’t have litters that end up in a shelter. Sterilization can cost hundreds of dollars, so our $85 adoption fee is a bargain – and our frequent adoption specials are even a better value! Animal Alliance Of Galveston County is a valuable partner in this effort.
All of these factors have helped reduce our euthanasia rate by 25 per cent in the past five years. This is a remarkable achievement for our community. While we work daily to reduce the rate even more, we are committed to staying an open-intake facility. That means that, when people who live in the communities we serve bring their pets to the shelter, we do not turn them away.
When shelters choose to turn pets away, it can lead to danger if the animals are abandoned on the street or to increased burden on another shelter if the rejected animals are taken there.
We encourage you to go online to arcpets.org or facebook.com/garcpets or to call 409-948-2485 to learn more about ARC and the many pets we have who are looking for homes.
You’re always welcome to stop by the shelter – we’re at 3412 Loop 197, which is also known as 25th Avenue North, in Texas City.
Happy National Pet Week and thank you for your support!
Amber Adams is ARC’s animal services manager.