For the first time in Charleston Animal Society staff memory, the adoption floor was vacant today because there were no dogs or cats in cages waiting for homes.
“I’m speechless. I haven’t seen the shelter completely empty since we built the building,” said Kay Hyman, shelter spokeswoman.
More than 280 animals were offered for free in an adoption blitz that began on Wednesday. The public responded, and now they are all gone. As a result, the Animal Society adoption center on Remount Road will not be opened as planned on Sunday afternoon. It will re-open on Tuesday.
“Right now we are relishing in this. It’s historic. It’s a huge accomplisment for us as a community,” Hyman said.
During the event, a man in a wheelchair adopted a cat. And there was a plastic surgeon still wearing his scrubs who showed up to adopt two cats, she said.
Joe Elmore, Animal Society executive director, said 70 percent of the animals at the shelter are strays. The rest are brought in by owners, he said.
Because of breeding cycles, the shelter typically experiences what Elmore called “summer slam” May through September during which it takes in 1,000 animals per month. He anticipated the shelter will need to hold one or two more free adoption events before the summer is over to relieve overcrowding.
For now, though, he and the shelter staff can kick back and enjoy a fresh start on Tuesday.
“We are so proud of this community,” he said.
It won’t take long to fill the empty shelter cages. More than 200 shelter kittens and puppies are in foster homes and will be coming back to the Animal Society to be put on the adoption floor in the next two weeeks. That means that by the second week of July, the shelter will be approaching capacity again, she said.
Elmore said the Animal Society has the highest adoption rate in South Carolina. But about a third of the animals received are euthanized for medical or behavioral reasons, which Elmore said is the lowest euthanasia rate in the state.