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Chicago Animal Control Adoptions Make History During COVID-19

Written by: Molly Weinfurter
Molly Weinfurter is a writer for iHeartDogs, and she’s passionate about helping animals in need. She volunteers for Bailing Out Benji and a local dog rescue.Read more
| Published on April 10, 2020

Around the world, animal shelters and rescues have been trying to find ways to adjust during the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing has made many things harder for people, but as it turns out, adopting dogs isn’t one of them. Many shelters and rescues have experienced an overwhelming amount of adoptions and new foster families. For Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC), every single animal was adopted one day, which is the first time in history that they’ve had that happen. Many other local rescues also had similar success recently.

Image: @ChicagoAnimalCareandControl/Facebook

Success at CACC

As the coronavirus situation became even more serious, the staff at CACC had to think about new ways to get dogs adopted. They had to adjust their hours and change adoptions to appointments only. They even waived adoption fees for the month of April.

The staff expected that some of these changes would help adoptions continue. However, they had no idea how successful it would be. Thousands of people applied to adopt and foster dogs during this time. In fact, so many people stepped forward that they ran out of animals on April 7th! 

“Yep, you read that right, we are out of adoptable animals! It’s something we’ve never thought we’d say…and we’re so happy to bring you this news,” CACC posted on Facebook. “But, we are still scheduling intake from the public, and our officers are still rescuing animals in the field, so we’ll probably have more again in the coming days.”

Image: @ChicagoAnimalCareandControl/Facebook

After all the animals found homes, CACC still had about 60 dogs, cats, and birds in their care. Those animals were either on hold or waiting for medical care for one reason or another. 

Also, the shelter expects that they will continuously be getting more animals in. So, more foster and adoption applications are always welcome as usual. Even after this pandemic is over, shelters and rescues still need just as much help. Saving dogs is important year-round, not just when things get tough.

How Other Organizations are Doing

As it turns out, CACC isn’t the only shelter that’s thriving in the area. Many of their partner shelters and organizations have also noticed an increase in dog adoption during this time. More people than ever have been looking to help out.

PAWS Chicago is the city’s largest no-kill shelter. Since March 22nd, they’ve had over 2,200 people submit adoption applications. The adoption process is taking a bit longer than usual since staff is trying to get used to the new system. Even so, they are thrilled by the amount of support. 

Image: @pawschicago/Facebook

One Tail at a Time is a smaller partner shelter in the area. They have had over 90 adoptions in the first few weeks of their virtual operations. All these organizations are in awe that there are finally more adopters than adoptable dogs. It’s an amazing situation that they never thought they’d have to worry about.

“We ask all parties to please be patient as new animals come in every day,” said Julia Poukatch with PAWS Chicago. “We are working hard to match homeless pets with as many interested adopters as possible.”

How Can You Help?

Adopting is always a great thing to do, but these organizations are also trying to stress the importance of adopting a dog. Many people welcomed a new dog into their family because they’ll have more time with the dog during quarantine. However, they need to ensure that they’ll still be able to care for the dog even after things return to normal.

Image: @ChicagoAnimalCareandControl/Facebook

“We think people see that with shelter-in-place, it is a great time to adopt or foster,” Poukatch said. “But it’s also important for people to consider their lifestyle once we resume normal living. Considering the well-being of the animal should be top of mind. Adopting an animal during shelter-in-place, only to return it once life and work resumes its normal schedule, is not fair for an animal who has already experienced loss.”

If you are only able to care for a dog during the quarantine, then please consider fostering instead of adopting. Fostering is a great way to help a rescue dog for the time being. It’s important for all dog lovers to understand that adoption is a long-term choice. Because of this, fostering is often a better option for many people.

If you want to help more dogs in need, please contact the shelters and rescues in your area. All organizations likely need extra support during this time. Even if you’re not able to adopt a new dog, there are still ways to make a difference. Fostering and donating are always great ways to help out, especially during this time of uncertainty.

Image: @ChicagoAnimalCareandControl/Facebook

Featured Image: @ChicagoAnimalCareandControl/Facebook

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