Gimme Shelter…

March 26, 2019

Escambia County is many things, including being the westernmost and oldest county in Florida, home to some of the most beautiful beaches, and a world-class vacation destination. But did you know that one of its hidden gems is its animal shelter? The Escambia County Animal Services Division Shelter in Pensacola is a shining example of pet services, and it’s located at 200 West Fairfield Drive, 32501.

One of the best ways to measure the worth of Escambia County’s Animal Shelter is its 2018 dog adoption rate of 80% (which, in shelter-lingo is called an 80% live-release rate) of dogs last year. And this year, the shelter has set the bar even higher: 2019’s goal of 90% of dog adoption is a goal within reach. This goal is also attainable because of the hard work of shelter staff and volunteers who take care of the shelter’s residents, including feeding, grooming, and exercising.

But what exactly happens to a dog that is brought to the shelter?

 A common misconception is that bringing a stray or found dog to the shelter means a death sentence for that animal. Nothing could be further from the truth. In actuality, coming to a shelter is the best thing that could happen to such a dog.

  1. First, shelter staff checks to see if a dog is microchipped. Microchipping a dog or other pet is the best way to have your pet returned to you if you become separated. Veterinary offices and shelters can scan these microchips to find owners’ information including address and phone numbers. If an animal that is brought to the shelter has a microchip, the owners are contacted immediately. It is very important that you update your phone number and address with your microchip company to help ensure that your lost animal can be returned to you.
  2. Animals that arrive at the shelter without microchips are put on a 5-day “stray hold,” and have their photos immediately uploaded to petharbor.com (which is updated hourly). This website helps pets get a chance to reunite with their owners. Shelter staff give all stray or lost dogs flea medication and a series of vaccinations that help to reduce the frequency of life-threatening disease that could spread through the shelter. The shelter also has a full-time veterinarian on staff that does rounds twice a day to check the health of each and every animal in the shelter.
  3. If the dog is not claimed during the 5-day hold, it becomes property of the County. The dog is evaluated for health and temperament, spayed or neutered, and, as long as the dog isn’t aggressive and/or doesn’t have a life-threatening disease, it is put up for adoption.

As you can see the staff does all that they can to avoid euthanizing animals- by using websites to promote adoptions, to maintaining networks with other shelters and rescues, to transporting animals to rescues and shelters in other states to become a part of someone’s family.

Adoption is great for other reasons, too, not the least of which is it makes room for other animals to use a shelter’s services. From the Humane Society of the United States:

Overburdened shelters take in millions of stray, abused, and lost animals every year, and by adopting an animal, you’re making room for others. Not only are you giving more animals a second chance, but the cost of your adoption goes directly towards helping those shelters better care for the animals they take in!

If you’re even a smidge-bit interested in finding out more about adopting a pet from the Escambia County’s Animal Shelter by going to these websites: https://myescambia.com/our-services/animal-services/animal-shelter ; http://petharbor.com/; or email the shelter at animalshelter@myescambia.com 1e0a1b

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