It’s all you hear about: in this economy, people are suffering. They’re losing jobs, unable to afford necessities, even ending up homeless.
Sadly, it’s not just people.
Cats and dogs are feeling the pinch, too. Adoption rates have fallen drastically in the last year, meaning more pets are in shelters or rescues.
“I think a lot of people are scared,” said Linda Young, who operates KittyCorner, a cat rescue in Liverpool. “They’re not willing to make the commitment to take in an animal.”
Young said KittyCorner’s adoption rates are down by half from this time last year, and she thinks other organizations have similar numbers.
In order to try to counter the trend, KittyCorner and two other rescue organizations held an Adopt-a-Thon Saturday Aug. 15 at Cameo Grooming in Liverpool. The event featured pets for adoption from Safe Haven, a private puppy rescue in Liverpool; Wanderers Rest, a humane shelter in Canastota; and KittyCorner. It also included free consultations with animal communicator Jill Ennis and low-cost microchipping for any cat or dog.
“We’ve done these adopt-a-thons before, but it’s very hard to find a venue,” Young said. “But Cameo’s owners were kind enough to donate the space, and it’s really perfect.”
Owner Greg Tiemann said he and co-owner Heidi Grosser were happy to host the event.
“These rescue groups do great work,” Tiemann said. “We’re happy to do anything we can to support them and to try to find homes for these wonderful dogs and cats.”
Mallory Paetow, who operates Safe Haven out of her home in Liverpool, said the event gives rescues much-needed exposure.
“We’re a small private rescue, and it’s so hard to let people know you’re out there,” Paetow said. “We have a website and we advertise in the Pennysaver, but most of our adopters come to us by word of mouth. We’re hoping this will give us some exposure.”
Paetow had several puppies she had recently rescued from a shelter in Kentucky, where they were days away from being euthanized.
“The shelters there are very high-kill,” she said. “Some of them only average three or four adoptions a week, and the rest are put to sleep. It’s heartbreaking. So I drove down myself and brought them up here.”
Paetow said she brought the puppies up from Kentucky to give them a better chance, though there are plenty of animals in need right here in Central New York.
“I’ve been doing this for two and a half years now, and this year we’ve just exploded,” she said. “There are so many animals in need of homes.”
Young said she and the other organizers were thinking of doing adopt-a-thons every few months. She hoped to bring in a larger variety of animal rescuers.
Young said adopting a rescue animal was really ideal for people who wanted a pet but weren’t able to spend a lot.
“That ‘free kitten’ in the newspaper is usually anything but,” she said. “But when you come to a rescue, all of the initial vet care is done. The animals are spayed or neutered and they’ve had their first shots. It’s a much cheaper way to adopt.”
Animal communicator Ennis agreed that rescue animals were the way to go.
“You have to adopt for so many reasons,” Ennis said. “Every animal that’s purchased takes a home away from one of these guys, who are just as loving, just as sweet, just as deserving. Why not adopt?”
For more information on these organizations or to adopt a pet from them, visit kittycorner.org, safehavenrescueny.webs.com
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.