VINELAND – Lines of those coming and going seem never-ending at the filled-to-capacity South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter, inundated with pits and kits.
“The overcrowding has been all summer,” Bev Greco, the shelter’s executive director told The Daily Journal on Tuesday. “Every time we turn around, we have kittens coming in the door.”
On Monday, the shelter took in 28 kittens pushing its occupancy up to 427 cats and 93 dogs, many of them pit bulls.
The shelter relies on a network of foster homes and rescue partners from Massachusetts to Delaware to help settle pets into homes. This poses the challenge of longer stays while pets wait for space to become available in other shelters where demand is higher and odds of adoption increase, she said.
Petco awarded the shelter a $40,000 grant to ready pets for transfers. Kittens, for example, must be healthy, weigh at least two pounds and had two rounds of vaccines before they are eligible, Greco said.
Hurricane Florence will likely impact adoptions as area shelters take in animals displaced from hard-hit areas.
“Our transfer partners will be filled up and unable to help us for a while until those animals move through,” Greco said.
How you can help:
Adopt: If you can make a long-term commitment, give a pet a home. There’s a special appeal for a bull dog aptly named Picasso due to his unique facial features. The 2-year-old’s been a guest of the shelter for 104 days.
Spay-neuter: “This makes all the difference in the world,” Greco said. “It’s the one thing our community needs to embrace more.” The shelter offers low-cost clinics and supports trap, neuter and release as way to cut down on litters and ensure cats are vaccinated. The shelter is also encouraging a crackdown on illegal pit bull breeding.
Foster: Providing a temporary home for an animal frees space for the shelter to take in another. As of Tuesday, 38 dogs and 173 cats were in foster care.
Volunteer: The shelter takes cats and dogs to PetSmart and other adoption events where they might catch the attention of potential adopters and needs help to do so. Saturdays are a prime time when extra help is needed.
Donate: Due to demand, the shelter needs dry cat and kitten food. Donations are also needed to cover medical expenses for rescue pets. Send checks made out to the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter, 1244 N. Delsea Drive, Vineland, 08360. You may also donate online at www.southjerseyregionalanimalshelter.org.
Deborah M. Marko; 856-563-5256; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @dmarko_dj