Free Cat Adoptions in June: Here's Why It's a Great Thing
SAN ANGELO, TX — June is recognized nationally as “Adopt a Shelter Cat Month” and Concho Valley Paws has announced that all cat adoptions are free from now until June 30.
Free adoptions mean that the cost of veterinary care is underwritten by donors so Paws does not have to collect an adoption fee to help repay that expense.
Jenie Wilson, the Concho Valley Paws Executive Director, said, “Some of our followers that aren’t familiar with all of our programs have expressed concerns on social media that free adoption events are dangerous to shelter pets. I too, once thought the greater the investment the adopter had in the pet, the more likely he or she would be to cherish the pet. I have no problem admitting that I was wrong.”
“I have been involved in rescue since 2008. In April of that year, my husband and I were very involved in a large scale local rescue and we solicited the help of a national organization. I learned a great deal about rescue, but also about the animal issues I had been completely blind to in my community. Once my eyes were opened to the fact that San Angelo was home to one of the highest kill shelters in the state, I dedicated my professional life to doing what I could to change things. In 2009, the city shelter had a kill rate of over 80%. Today, less than 10 years later, the live release rate is 73% and we are well on our way to becoming a true no kill community by the year 2020,” said Jenie Wilson.
“Over time, we have done a lot of research. One thing about rescue in West Texas is that we are very behind in our progress in animal welfare. While that is mostly a negative statement, the positive is that it has allowed us to learn from people who have done it right. Many communities have shifted from high-kill to low-kill to NO-kill and we can learn from those who have done it successfully. There are many successful organizations to model. There is no need to recreate the wheel and take unnecessary risks with animal life if there is data and studies to research. So that is what we do.”
“Some people have expressed fear that free events put animals’ safety at risk because it might draw the interest of the wrong type of person – meaning people with ill intent for the animal such as dog fighters.”
Paws has a screening process. Adopters must complete an application and show photo identification, which helps deter people with criminal or cruel intent. There is no wavering from the screening process. The screening process includes address verification, driver’s license or photo identification to confirm identity.
Landlord approval is required unless you own or are buying your home and that is also verified. A veterinary reference is required and any pets currently in the home have to be up-to-date on vaccines and spayed or neutered. Personal references are needed and an emergency contact to register the microchip. In addition, pet ownership history is reviewed and if an applicant has had any negative interactions with animal control.
“Because of our requirements, we have to decline almost 30% of applicants. As you can imagine, we are criticized for that, too. However, we stand by these requirements because we believe that these are better indicators of what will be a good home. These requirements tell us much more about a person’s ability to care for an animal than any adoption fee ever could,” said Jenie.
When the screening process is completed and everything is checked and passes, adopters sign a contractual agreement with Concho Valley Paws.
“The safety of companion animals is our primary concern. If you know any one of us on PAWS staff, you know that this job does not come without sacrifices. Sacrifices we have no problems making because we are committed to our mission to save as many lives as we can,” said Jenie. “It is a responsibility we do not take lightly as we know saving lives does not mean sticking a pet in just any situation. We are sadly aware that there are some fates worse than death.”
All adoptions are a risk truthfully, and Concho Valley Paws works hard to minimize the risk as much as possible.