Local animal shelters offering free adoptions as part of national event


Sasha spent the last year and a half living in a pen after being found tied to a utility pole with her friend Benny after both dogs were abandoned by their owner. She’s eager to be around people, literally jumping at the chance to go on a walk. 

The American Staffordshire/Pit Bull Terrier mix is one of almost 30 dogs at both the Southold and Riverhead Animal Shelters that are desperate to find a loving home.

In an effort to unite the shelters dogs and cats with new owners, Riverhead and Southold Animal Shelters, which are part of the North Shore Animal Welfare League, are teaming up with NBC 4 New York and Telemundo 47 to host Clear the Shelters Day on Aug. 15.

“It’s a great thing to get the dogs and cats out of here,” said Gabby Stroup, the manager at the Southold shelter. “It’s great exposure for them.”

During the event from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. all adoptions will be free at both shelters. Potential adopters will also receive free refreshments and snacks throughout the day.

Gillian Wood Pultz, the NFAWL executive director, said most people still avoid adoption through shelters as a way to find a pet. She said only about 20 percent of pets are adopted through a shelter, a statistic the organization is trying to increase. Approximately 25 adoptions a month currently take place at the Riverhead and Southold shelters combined.

“We are involved with Clear the Shelters Day because we want to find great homes for our animals here,” she said. “Anything we can do to promote adoption rather than purchasing animals, we want to be on board for.”

Over 100 shelters across the country are participating, with many concentrated on the East Coast, and in Texas, California and Arizona. The two local shelters are among 24 on Long Island and in New York City participating.

Many of the animals are in need of a loving home after enduring mistreatment. Spudster, a bull terrier mix, needed surgery to correct major breathing problems he had when he came to the shelter. Lefty, an American Staffordshire terrier, has been at the Southold Animal Shelter ever since her owners moved and left her behind. Dutchess, a pitbull, was placed for adoption after her owner got pregnant and thought a newborn baby and dog would be too much to handle. And Titan, a 4-year-old German Shepherd/Chow Chow mix, was found running along Route 48 emaciated and bald.

Although the adoptions will be free, those interested in bringing home a dog still have to pay town-licensing fees. The cost is $9 in Riverhead and $11 in Southold.

Adopters are required to fill out an application in order to take home a pet. If all their references can be reached that day, the dog can be brought home the same day, Ms. Stroup said.

She said the shelters were contacted directly by members of NBC and asked to participate. Both stations were “extremely generous” with advertising for the event, Ms. Wood Pultz said.

“They’re putting so much energy and time into promoting this day that it’s a no brainer for us to get on board,” she said. “We just grab onto the coattails and go with it.”

[Photo credit: Spudster, a bull terrier, is one of the dogs available for adoption in Southold.]

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