Tomorrow is Clear The Shelters day. This will be my 3rd year to be a part of this amazing event! Last year at Dallas Animal Services 209 pets found new forever homes – in one day. Public support for the event is tremendous. The staff and volunteers love it. But every year there are a few naysayers, usually someone new to animal rescue that has heard the horror stories older rescuers love to tell – like badges of courage they have earned over the years. But the animal welfare industry is constantly in a state of change, with large national organizations leading the way thru research and development, annual conferences that teach new and innovative ideas, and the constant need to save more lives.
My personal experience with CTS has been all positive. Most of the people who participate don’t do so because of the waived fees – they do so because they enjoy being part of such a huge, nationwide, life-saving event. Every year we’ve done the event, we’ve run out of fee-waived animals but people continued to adopt from our Lost & Found section at regular price. And we’ve tracked returns every year- they are the same as any other time. Plus at DAS we have an added advantage – we involve our animal control officers, so anyone who we suspect has ill intentions gets to deal with them.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. Check out what the leaders in the industry have to say about fee-waived adoptions. Then volunteer to help out one year and see for yourself.
The HSUS article quotes Ventura County Animal Services (VCAS) director Tara Diller, “Because the event was so fun and lighthearted and interactive, it brought … a sense of life into this organization,” Diller says. The overall effect was nothing short of transformative, she adds—boosting staff morale, showing off the shelter’s fun side and promoting the idea of fee-waived adoptions.
That pretty much sums it up for me.