City animal shelter reports record number of adoptions

Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter surpasses last year's record-setting mark

  • McGruff, a 2-year-old dog, is one of the animals up for adoption at the Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS). BARCS is on track to smash the record set last year for adoptions, which had been the best year in the history of the city animal shelter. There have been 3,225 adoptions this year, a 13.5 percent increase over the record number set in 2009.
McGruff, a 2-year-old dog, is one of the animals up for adoption… (Kim Hairston, Baltimore…)
December 28, 2010|By Raven L. Hill, The Baltimore Sun

Adoption promotions and specials on fees have helped more furry friends than ever at the Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter find homes this year.

The South Baltimore shelter, also known as BARCS, is reporting 3,225 adoptions in 2010 — a 13.5 percent increase over the record set last year.

The shelter gets about 33 new dogs and cats daily, approximately 12,000 annually. It started reducing fees for holiday adoptions two years ago to sway potential pet owners and ease economic pressures on smaller rescue groups, which couldn't afford to take in as many of the shelter's animals as they normally would.

In addition to free microchipping all year long, specials include waived adoption fees for animals ages 6 months and up through the end of December. Starting Jan. 2, some animals, including any who have been in the shelter for more than a week, will be available for adoption for only $1. That promotion ends Jan. 31.

The shelter hosts the "Baltimore 500" in the spring with the Baltimore Humane Society and Maryland SPCA with the goal of finding homes for 500 kittens and cats.

"That has helped to increase the number of lives saved by 60 percent," executive director Jennifer Mead-Brause said. "Every year it has gone up. Our goal is to save as many lives as possible."

Carol Hoshall adopted the first of three cats last year from the shelter. After the first adoption, she started volunteering at the shelter. Months later, she began taking in foster animals.

"They do an incredible job on a shoestring," Hoshall said. "My admiration gets stronger for them the more I work with them."

The shelter transferred an additional 2,847 animals to other facilities and rescue groups, and returned 564 stray animals to their families.

Adoptions are also up at the Baltimore Humane Society.

"There are a lot of people giving up their pets, which means we have more house-trained pets, and plenty of people who want to adopt pets," said Andrew Levine, the society's executive director.

Levine said they have run two-for-one promos and "seniors for seniors" specials where older residents can adopt senior animals at a discount.

Maryland SPCA anticipated a drop in adoptions because its kennel was closed for two months due to construction. Numbers are slightly down this year, from 3,288 to 2,735, said Maryland SPCA executive director Aileen Gabbey, who praised the Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter's efforts.

"We're happy if animals are getting adopted anywhere," Gabbey said.

raven.hill@baltsun.com

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