More animals are entering the shelter system, but the number of foster placements and adoptions for cats and dogs increased substantially in the past year. Volunteer hours are at a five-year high.
On Tuesday, supervisors received the annual report from Animal Services and declared October as Adopt a Shelter Dog Month.
Supervisor Laura Capps introduced Freddy, a dog her family is fostering, and Supervisor Das Williams held Cinnamon on his lap, his fostered dog who he says is good with children and cats.
“Her only bad habit is she really likes treats a lot,” he said.
Animal Services Director Sarah Aguilar said the county and the rest of the country are seeing a significant increase in the number of animals entering shelters.
“We’re lucky to have such a pet-loving, supportive community,” she said.
There were 2,300 adoptions for the year ending in June, about 500 more than the previous year.
Foster placements more than doubled, and the county added day trip and overnight fostering options so people could “take a future pet on a hike, out to lunch, or home for a weekend.”
Animal Services also reported a huge increase in volunteer hours — higher even than pre-pandemic years — and hired a full-time volunteer coordinator earlier this year.
“We’ve got all kinds of need, and it’s really an easy process for folks to get started in helping,” Aguilar said of volunteering, adding that all kinds of skills are useful — whether it’s time to hang out with puppies and kittens, or marketing, administrative work, improving the website, or answering phones.
Supervisor Joan Hartmann thanked Aguilar and said Animal Services has “exceptional leadership” right now.
“We’ve struggled, and so we’re delighted to have you,” she said. “These numbers are extraordinary under the circumstances that you’ve faced.”
Animal Services has more than 200 dogs in its three shelters and foster care.
“By adopting a shelter dog, you not only gain a loving and loyal friend but also contribute to reducing the population of homeless animals in our community. It’s a win-win for everyone involved,” Aguilar said in a statement about Adopt a Shelter Dog Month.
“Adopting a shelter dog offers numerous advantages, both for the adopter and the pet itself. One significant benefit is the affordability of adopting compared to purchasing from breeders. Dogs available for adoption are spayed or neutered, microchipped, and vaccinated, saving new pet owners the costs associated with these essential procedures.”
Scroll down to read the Animal Services annual report.