By Phil Snyder, Executive Director of Suncoast Humane Society
Published in the Englewood Sun on August 16, 2015
I believe the phrase, "It's Raining Cats and Dogs," was originally intended to describe a heavy downpour of rain. It has a different meaning to staff and volunteers at open admissions animal shelters.
It is used to describe the overwhelming influx of homeless animals within a short period of time, usually occurring during this time of year. To give you an idea of the problem, Suncoast Humane Society currently has over 70 canines and 60 felines waiting for new homes.
There are also a dozen bunnies and a half-dozen guinea pigs available in its "small critter" adoption room. Waiting in the wings are an additional 40 dogs and cats that are under medical treatment, being evaluated for adoption, or in foster homes. And it is sad to note that the flood gates will undoubtedly remain open all summer long.
Open admissions shelters are constantly frustrated with the fact that many of the dogs surrendered to them are of the pit bull variety and/or other large breeds. Small dogs received at Suncoast Humane Society are usually adopted very quickly.
Some small adoption groups choose to act as brokers, by taking small adoptable dogs, often purebred from shelters in other areas of the state or even the entire country, and actually selling or adopting them for exorbitant fees.
Open admissions shelters are stuck with trying to adopt out the many healthy animals they receive, large or small. It is the large dogs that are generally hard to place. Even though their stay in the shelter is enriched by walking, training, exercise and a constant supply of toys, their needs require a special home with the time and space to care for them.
It often takes weeks or even months before that special home appears. Right now, far too many pets are waiting for that second chance to be loved. Only preventing the birth of unwanted animals through spay and neuter will slow down the raining of cats and dogs.
Suncoast Humane Society is featuring special reduced adoption fees during its "It's Raining Cats and Dogs" adoption special during the month of August.