Paris Animal Shelter

The Lamar County Humane Society is reporting a steep rise in pet adoptions as summer begins, something shelter officials attribute to the ongoing pandemic.  

It’s not uncommon for the Lamar County Humane Society to see a rise in pet adoptions around the start of summer. This year, though, that increase has been steeper and quicker than usual.

While there have been more local adoptions than is usual for this time of year, shelter coordinator Stephanie Corley said the most predominant increase has been in the number animals taken by rescue partners. Rescues help keep the local animal shelters at manageable levels by taking animals and helping them find homes, keeping local shelters — that are required to accept dogs and cats — at manageable levels without forcing the shelter to turn to euthanasia, Corley said.

“The bulk of how we’ve been getting animals out is through our rescue partners, and it’s been really great to see,” Corley said. “Our rescue partners from the DFW and other parts of the state — like Paws of Love Animal Rescue and East Dallas Animal Rescue — they’ve been helping us out by taking these large transports of dogs a lot more often.”

In the past, the shelter might meet with rescue partners on a monthly basis. Now, the local shelter is meeting with some partners on a weekly basis. Last month, about 170 animals were sent to area partners, Corley said. In a normal month, the shelter usually sees 100 to 120 animals sent to local partners.

“We’ve been able to keep dogs for a little bit of extra time, and in that time those dogs were able to find families and homes, so it’s really been a huge help,” Corley said.

Corley attributed this to a rise in potential adopters, adding the ongoing coronavirus pandemic likely plays a role.

“With more people home, they’re seeing more people willing to foster and adopt,” Corley said.

The shelter has also seen a rise in local adoptions as well. Currently, the shelter is well below capacity and has no young puppies and just seven kittens.

Because of the pandemic, the shelter has adjusted the way it handles adoptions. No longer are people able to simply walk into the shelter and view the animals; now, potential adopters must schedule an appointment ahead of time. And at the shelter, only two people are allowed inside at a time.

“If there’s a family and they want to see what they all think of a dog, they can leash the dog and take it out into the parking lot, or they can come in in shifts,” Corley said.

Though the rate of adoptions has slowed in recent weeks, as Corley said most of the people who would have adopted have now done so, she said she hopes to see the positive trend continue into the future.

“People are making a commitment to pets… and I hope that doesn’t change.I think the pandemic has made us see what’s possible, and I hope we don’t go back to the mindset that pets are more or less disposable,” she said.

Tommy Culkin is a staff writer for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6972 or at tommy.culkin@theparisnews.com.

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