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Shelter finds holiday homes for all its animals for the first time in 47 years

Shelter finds holiday homes for all its animals for the first time in 47 years
Posted at 12:55 PM, Dec 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-29 12:58:05-05

The holidays can be a tough time for stray animals, but a miracle came to one Pennsylvania animal shelter just in time for Christmas.

For the first time in 47 years, the Adams County SPCA found homes for every one of its cats and dogs. The staff took a moment to celebrate and show off their completely empty kennels in a Facebook post (below) that went viral and was picked up by national news outlets this week.

As they note in the post, those kennels didn’t stay empty for long. A stray cat showed up and found a warm place to stay that same day, highlighting how rare the achievement is.

The flurry of adoption activity wasn’t all Christmas magic, as it turns out. The Washington Post details the hard work that led up to those empty shelters in the weeks leading up to Christmas. The adopting spree kicked off when the SPCA found homes for 10 dogs that had been abandoned under a Gettysburg bridge in early December. The pups’ before-and-after Facebook pictures sparked public interest, and the Adams County staff decided to build on that momentum and capitalize on holiday goodwill.

In that month alone, they got 90 dogs and cats adopted, along with a pair of ferrets, bringing their adoption numbers for the year up to 598. They also tracked down the owners of 26 lost pets, and by Dec. 22, their kennels were vacant for the first time in 47 years.

MORE: Meet Maverick, this year’s winner of the American Humane Hero Dog Award

“It’s incredible, especially since just two weeks before, our kennels were almost full,” shelter director Abigail Avery told the Post. “Everything aligned perfectly for us this year.”

It’s an especially rare feat considering the rate at which animal shelters are filling up nationwide. Euthanasia rates have reached a three-year high, and the problem is especially acute in major cities. The problem is at least partially caused by the spike in pet adoptions during the height of the pandemic, which led to many pet owners now being unable to care for those animals due to economic stress.

If you’ve got some space and love for a new pet of your own, contact your local animal shelter or the Humane Society.


Shelter finds holiday homes for all its animals for the first time in 47 years originally appeared on Simplemost.com, helping make the most out of life.

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