It’s the first day of spring and I’m writing to you today from my front porch. Birds are singing, the temperature is lovely, the sun is shining, and shoots of green are emerging from the ground. There’s no doubt that spring is about to burst out around us and while I’m filled with joy and excitement that’s inevitable this time of year, there’s a dread that creeps in too.
The winter is always a calmer time in animal welfare; but this winter has seen higher intake numbers than we have ever experienced. There’s no indication that the trend is going to change as we cruise into spring and summer.
Leaders in the animal welfare industry are predicting that across the country, this summer will be catastrophic for animal shelters. Faced with a shortage of workers and higher than normal intake numbers, shelters are struggling and we are no different. This is going to affect our entire community, but there are things we can do now to make a difference for the impending summer.
Look outside of our immediate area, the Philadelphia region has numerous low-cost clinics including the Philadelphia Animals Welfare Society (PAWS in Philly), Providence Animal Center (PAC in Media, Pa.), and Emancipet in Philly. Staying in New Jersey, you can also look into the Animal Welfare Association in Voorhees, Gypsy Rose Clinic in Clayton, Ace of Spays in Hainesport, CSTAR in Somerdale, and the Atlantic County SPCA.
We are also imploring our community to take responsibility for their pets now! Do not let potential issues wait until summer, when help will be hard to find. Concerned about your new puppy’s behavior? Take action and train her now. If she grows up for another six months and then you decide you can’t handle it, I can promise you there will be few options for you and her.
If you are facing potential loss of housing and change in living situations, please start exploring your options now. The eviction crisis is real and housing is not easy to find and pet friendly housing is even more difficult. My heart breaks for families facing these hardships, but knowing you have a safe place for your pet to land will make your decisions and path forward easier.
If you need help, our Community Outreach team is here for the community. We are busier than ever, but doing our very best to continue to help, whether it’s through our Pet Pantry, safe options for rehoming, or resources to help you keep your pet.
While we expect the demand for our help to continue to grow, we also expect our resources to dwindle this summer. Now is the time to take responsibility and now is the time to reach out if you need help.
There are so many other ways that you can help us prepare and help us when we struggle. We will be desperate for foster homes for all of our animals but particularly for kittens and large dogs.
We will need volunteers to help us enrich and exercise the many, many animals we anticipate caring for.
Our TNVR (Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate and Return) Team seeks new volunteers to help us meet our goal of spaying and neutering as many community cats as possible.
We will need financial support to keep our critical programs, like Community Outreach and TNVR operating at their best capacity and we are seeking animal-loving, hard-working team members to join our staff to make a real difference for the animals.
You can find information about volunteering, fostering, Community Outreach, TNVR, donating, and employment at www.southjerseyregionalanimalshelter.org.
Take action now and do your part to turn things around for the animals who need us.
Shelter needs: Canned cat and dog food, dry cat and kitten food (no dyes please), Snuggle Safe heat pads, dog treats, cat toys, catnip, peanut butter, tuna packets, tough dog toys, twin sized blankets, colored copy paper, and gift cards for pet supply and grocery outlets.