LIBERTY — The Pickens County Humane Society is facing a problem: Currently at capacity, animal adoptions are dwindling, while animal surrenders for the past three months have ranged from 50 to 93 animals per month.
Shelter Director Samantha Gamble said as of Aug. 14, not a single person had been to the shelter to adopt. Last week, there was only one. Adoption rates are averaging 37 percent and most are puppies and kittens.
Adult and senior pets tend to be the hardest to place.
According to Gamble, it is difficult to find a home for a dog over the age of 2 and any cat over four months of age.
“After four months, a cat is really still just a kitten,” said manager Megan Brown, “but they don’t look kittenish anymore. They look more like an adult cat and people pass them by.”
According to the ASPCA, indoor cats have an average life span of 13 to 17 years. At 4 months old, these cats can look forward to a long and healthy life — if they can get adopted.
At age 2, the age range is a bit more lenient on dogs, but more and more adult dogs are being dropped off at the shelter with little hope of finding homes. Some dogs have been there for months, waiting for a family.
On their website, the ASPCA writes that depending on the size and breed of the dog, life expectancy can range from seven to 10 years for large breeds, while some smaller dogs can average 14 years or more.
“Any dog over 2 years old is difficult to place,” Gamble said. “But over 5 is almost impossible, which is just crazy. These dogs still have plenty of love to give.”
Brown said there are benefits to considering adopting an older pet. Adult dogs are often already housebroken and past the troublesome chewing phase. Many come from families and are good with children and other animals.
Popular belief might be that the animal shelter is comprised mainly of strays, but according to Gamble, 80 percent of the animals surrendered were family pets.
Gamble said the most common reasons for surrenders is that the family is moving away, or starting a new job and will no longer have time for the animal. Sometimes it’s financial and sometimes it’s because the family has a new baby on the way and feels that the dog or cat would be intrusive.
The Pickens County Humane Society is currently taking care of 37 dogs and 88 cats with a staff of three and some dedicated volunteers. Being non-profit, the shelter relies on donations to run properly. Right now the shelter is trying to raise $2,000 for new puppy enclosures.
Donations of dry dog and cat food, blankets, chew toys, cat litter and dog beds are also being sought. For a complete donation list or to make a donation, visit www.pickenscountyhumanesociety.com, call 864-843-9693 or stop in at 500 Five Forks Road in Liberty.