San Antonio Unites to Conquer Pet Overpopulation

Expanding San Antonio’s adoption outreach

Read the previous chapter: Pulling from animal shelters and not breeders

With high-volume transfer programs and foster families in place, San Antonio animal welfare groups looked for more ways to save lives through adoption programs. Together, they hosted community adoption events around the city.

To further the adoption efforts, PetSmart Charities approached the Animal Defense League (ADL) about opening an Everyday Adoption Center (EAC) in San Antonio in 2013. “The Animal Defense League is a well-known and highly respected animal shelter in the community,” said Gina Barborek, program manager for PetSmart Charities.

EACs provide rent-free, fully functional space inside PetSmart® stores where groups can showcase adoptable pets. “We jumped at the chance to expand our adoption program,” said Janice Darling, executive director for ADL. 

On opening day, ADL transferred Scout, a 4-year-old basset hound, and several of her puppies to the new EAC.

It didn’t take long for Scout and her puppies to get noticed. The Chavez family — Elizabeth, Jorge and their kids, Diego, 6, and Tenoch, 3 — was shopping for dog treats when they saw Scout come through the door.

“We love basset hounds and were surprised to see one available for adoption,” said Elizabeth. “We headed in her direction.”

Initially, her kids wanted one of Scout’s puppies, but Elizabeth saw a teachable moment. “I knew that she would have a harder time getting adopted because she had just given birth and she was an older dog, so that's when I put my foot down and said, ‘We're taking her.’”

“Scout would never have been noticed that quickly at our shelter,” said Janice. “The EACs are really exposing our adoptable pets to a whole new audience here. I think one of the best things about the EAC is that we can move the pets around. Some of our pets are overlooked at the shelter, but they can be brought here and get adopted almost immediately.”

Young boy hugging bassett houndPetSmart Charities Adoption Partners in San Antonio also participate in National Adoption Weekends, held at PetSmart stores 4 times a year, and set up in-store adoption events 7 days a week. Adoption partners receive grant dollars for every cat and dog adopted at PetSmart stores, which provides additional support for their programs.

With all of these new adoption options, “it’s the pets who are winning and that’s the main focus for us here in San Antonio,” said Hugo Vital, communications director for ADL. “We’re finding more homes for cats and dogs.”

Next: Grants boost San Antonio’s spay/neuter options

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