Give an abandoned animal a new home

Published 9:47 pm Thursday, August 9, 2012

Cat condo? Pet-store styling? “Get acquainted” rooms? What’s going on at the Suffolk Animal Care Facility?

Agreeably for the legions of hapless animals who wind up there through no fault of their own, seemingly a revolution.

As reported in these pages earlier this week, expansive renovations to the facility have been unveiled.

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It now has 3,600 more square feet, room for an additional 28 kennels that increases its capacity to about 70 cats and 76 dogs, and a host more additions and renovations.

The wisdom of spending public money on such a project may be scrutinized in this age of shrinking budgets, but according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, about five million to seven million companion animals enter animal care facilities like Suffolk’s every year, and about three million to four million are euthanized.

According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, less than two percent of cats and only 15 percent of dogs are returned to their owners.

That means that matching shelter cats and dogs with new owners is crucial, and the upgrade to the Suffolk facility will help this process.

Most of the animals returned to their owners are identified with microchips, as well as tags and tattoos.

Registering your pet’s microchip with a service like HomeAgain ( can keep your lost pet from ending up in a shelter, no matter how attractive the lodging, in the first place.

Alerts are sent to HomeAgain members in your area, who receive information to help identify the animal.

Other companies out there offer the same, or similar, service, such as 24PetWatch and PetLink.

Looking after pets is even more important when considering how many are out there.

The American Pet Products Association 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey reported 78.2 million dogs as pets in the U.S.

Thirty-nine percent of households own at least one dog, and 28 percent of owners own two dogs.

There are about 86.4 million cats, and 33 percent of U.S. households have at least one cat.

These statistics make clear the growing importance of pets to people, and they also highlight the need for better facilities for their welfare.

Suffolk Humane Society finds new homes for animals in the Suffolk Animal Care Facility, and has given its expansion the tick of approval.

In fact, the society is partnering with Suffolk Animal Control on another “adopt-a-thon” event, this Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Chesapeake Square PetSmart.