Categories: Cat News

Clear the Shelters Day: A day for happy endings or is it tragedy in disguise?

In 2018, over 100,000 pets were adopted from over 1,000 shelters across the country during the Clear the Shelters campaign. The numbers are still coming in for the August 17, 2019 one-day event with many shelters reporting every animal found a home.

Clear the Shelters campaign basically waives (and sometimes just lowers) adoption fees for cats and dogs at least one year old. I’m not sure whether kittens and puppies fall into this category. But are the adopted pets going to a ‘forever home’ or just getting out of the shelter into a worse situation. There ARE worse things than shelter euthanasia.

I did an impromptu poll asking for comments on the event. Below is a sampling of what I received back. I’m going to end this article after posting a few of them and would like to invite the readers to comment on whether Clear the Shelters is a good idea and why or why not.

Anne: I’m on the fence with this. People act different than a person. Declaring an event causes us to want to be part of a group. Also, we love a sale, and to save money. So people will wait for an event rather than adopt a pet at a different time. Then this requires cooperation between the shelters and the rescues. There should be follow-up on adoptions. And applications should be pre-filed ahead of the adoption day. Vet references required

Kara: Free animals are never a good thing. There’s things much worse then a Humane death and that’s the torture and suffering many of the “FREE” animals go through. In a perfect world I would love this, but we live in evil days now.

Roslyn: Poor dog Cargo was adopted out at a event such as clear the shelter and was found alive in a ditch beaten, stabbed and raped a short time later. She could not overcome her injuries and died. I’m just not a fan of these type events.

Pam: Part of me really wants them all to find homes, but another part of me worries that they will fall into the wrong hands, or not truly be valued because they were gotten for “free”

Clear the Shelters locations

Marleen: I have mixed feeling on these events. I mostly disapprove. If the public cannot afford adoption fees I dont look for them to be able to cover flea treatments , teeth cleaning, unfortunate accidents, kidney issues, UTI, monthly heartworm meds. However if sending them out gives them better odds at survival then some beat the odds. Some end up like those that leave from one shelter only to end up the next week in another shelter. They did not beat the odds. I first hand witnessed this. Those that do not use their vouchers to spay and neuter just caused the next wave of those entering shelters. They also did not beat the odds. Those thrown out did not best the odds. This isn’t the answer. Mandatory spay neuter is the one and only answer to decrease shelter intake.

Patricia: Totally dislike clear the shelter days. People who spend money hopefully will take care of pets. Free means bait dogs,outside,chained dogs. No interactio n from owners just to say they have a dog. No home checks. To me ,an easy way out for the shelters to make them look good. Now in saying that some pets will get a good home,others not so lucky.

Taryn: Shoot me, but I don’t have an issue with it. People who want a pet will get a pet somewhere no matter what. Better they get one that’s already s/n, chipped, vaccinated.

Lupe:There should be protocol with the shelters to ensure that the cats and dogs are actually going to a loving home and not to be used as bait, dogfighting, etc. The word “free” is too much of an enticement for those with nefarious intent to get an animal from the shelter as they often do answering “free” Craigslist ads. All shelters at any time, not just on this day should always make sure the animals are going to be taken care of and have a forever home. Rescues need to do the same.

Shelter staff, rescues who participated (or didn’t participate), animal advocates and families who adopted are invited to leave a line or two in the comment section. I never realized people were against the event until I started reading the horror stories about animals beaten, killed or returned within days.

Personally, free adoption events make me very nervous. Especially when there is no follow-up by the shelter as to whether the animal got a good home or if the potential adopter isn’t screened very carefully. .

Missouri man admitted he would scour Craigslist ads for free cats then take them home to kill them

Are free animal shelter adoptions a good or bad idea?

Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Elisa Black-Taylor

Elisa is an experienced cat caretaker and rescuer. She lives in the US. As well as being a professional photographer, Elisa has been a regular contributor to PoC for nine years. See her Facebook page.

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