Shelters mark Homeless Animals Awareness Week

Published 9:59 pm Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Suffolk Animal Care Center and 14 other local animal shelters have joined forces to educate the metro area about the plight of homeless animals seeking their forever homes in local facilities. These shelters have been conducting a public awareness campaign for the week of Valentine’s Day, Feb. 12-18.

Throughout this special week, shelters have been sending a variety of educational messages via traditional, electronic and social media. They have also been asking everyone who cares about homeless pets to wear or display an orange ribbon during the week to show support for shelter animals. The ribbons also will encourage family and friends to ask questions, allowing animal advocates to explain about the community’s canine and feline residents who need our help. Shelters will offer ribbons to the public from their facilities. Orange is the color for animal welfare.

According to the ASPCA, which is not affiliated with any of our region’s local shelters, approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter shelters nationwide every year. In Hampton Roads, tens of thousands of dogs, cats and other animals become homeless every year. Local shelters take custody of these animals and provide compassionate care and adoption programs. Both medical and behavioral rehabilitation services are offered, while volunteers and fosters help shelters expand their capacity to accept more animals in need. Currently, only about 23 percent of people acquiring dogs obtain them from shelters and 31 percent of people acquiring cats adopt them from a shelter. If more people could be encouraged to adopt from a shelter, then many more lives would be saved.

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Stop by Suffolk Animal Care Center, 124 Forest Glen Drive, to pick up an orange ribbon, visit the adoptable animals and ask about the volunteer and foster programs.

Participating shelters and organizations are Chesapeake Animal Services, Chesapeake Humane Society, Gloucester-Mathews Humane Society, Heritage Humane Society, Norfolk Animal Care Center, Norfolk SPCA, Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter, Peninsula SPCA, PETA, Portsmouth Humane Society, Suffolk Animal Care, Suffolk Humane Society, SPCA of Northeastern North Carolina, Virginia Beach Animal Care and Adoption Center, and Virginia Beach SPCA.