Florida shelter celebrates going from “critical capacity” to completely empty kennels — congratulations

Florida shelter celebrates going from “critical capacity” to completely empty kennels — congratulations

Animal shelters do important work, but it can feel like the work is never really done: for all the pets who get adopted out, there are usually even more coming in, either as strays or surrendered by their owners.

But in the rare cases that shelters actually find themselves completely empty, it’s definitely a moment worth celebrating. Recently, one Florida shelter announced that they had been completely cleared after an adoption event.

Like many shelters these days, the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center, in Florida, has struggled with being over capacity, taking in more homeless dogs than get adopted out.

Last month, they reported that their kennels were at “critical capacity” at 140% and they urgently needed fosters and adopters.

“It’s difficult to stay up with the calls. We do have to prioritize calls because we can’t get to each and every one of them every day,” Roger Mills, the Division Director of Animal Control in Hillsborough County, told WFTS.

But this month, they participated in a weekend-long “Mega Adoption Event” along with other area shelters, where dogs were available with no adoption fee.

It worked out better than they could’ve hoped: calling the event a “huge success,” they wrote on Facebook that 459 dogs had been adopted, including 123 from their shelter.


That’s a lot of dogs — and gave them a rare sight of relief: completely empty kennels.

A video posted on May 22 shows that the shelter’s B kennel is completely cleared. There’s not a homeless dog in sight, just some very relieved staff members who applaud the rare accomplishment.

They thanked everyone who supported the center and adopted dogs. “This is because of you!” they wrote. “Every empty kennel means a pup is resting their head in their new home.”

While every shelter dreams of having empty kennels, it’s almost always a temporary respite: there will no doubt be more dogs needing their space and care soon.

And while the huge amount of adoptions was inspiring, sadly not every one stuck: one dog adopted at the event was reportedly returned to Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center for being “too boring.” She has since been taken in by a rescue.

Even so, having cleared-out kennels is an opportunity for some breathing room for frequently overworked shelters, providing an opportunity to do cleaning and maintenance. Some cleared-out shelters also take in pets from severely crowded shelters, easing their burden and making sure no dog has to be euthanized to make space.

In December, a Pennsylvania shelter cleared out their shelters for the first time in 47 years, in what they called a “Christmas miracle.”

Congrats to Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center on completely cleared-out kennels! We hope more over-capacity shelters see this kind of success.

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