The Burlington County Animal Alliance has been celebrating its 20-year anniversary this year. The organization was founded in 1999 as a private, independent, nonprofit animal advocacy group. Over the years, the group has been awarded multiple awards for its hard work in helping animals find homes.
According to the Alliance’s website bcaaofnj.org, the organization primarily focuses on rescue and adoption of shelter dogs and cats from Burlington County and surrounding areas. Its main focus is to make the public aware of the number of homeless dogs and cats there are in shelters and to promote their adoption.
“I’ve been with this organization for about five years,” said animal alliance member Marybeth Swindells. “The thing that I think is most special about this organization is that we take all kinds of dogs. We take them young, old, big, small, even tripods, which are dogs that may have lost a leg. We are always willing to take in dogs, and it’s not always the ‘cute’ dogs that come or the ones that are easily adoptable, it’s all types.”
According to Swindells, the organization fills a need. The way the process work allows potential rescue families to see the dogs online and then put in an application for them. The organization then looks for certain things depending on the dog. These include the size of a backyard and two references. The organization may conduct a home visit to check the area, see if everyone in the household agrees on adopting the animal and, if there are other pets in the house, see if they are up-to-date with their vaccinations.
After the application goes through, the families are given a time to meet with the dogs, typically on Saturdays. Each Saturday, the organization receives a shipment of dogs either by bus or plane. The dogs are pulled from kill shelters from southern states. According to Swindells, these states have a lot of strays and dogs in shelters.
“We pull from down south because there is a large number of dogs down there,” said Swindells. “A lot of the time, there are stray dogs that aren’t neutered, and when you have that there’s a bigger chance of having more litters. That’s one of the reasons why we advocate for getting dogs neutered. It’s one of the requirements that we have.”
For the dogs that don’t get adopted right away, the organization finds foster homes for these animals. The organization’s success has been dependent on the number of volunteers it has, and it’s that reason that the number of dogs that the organization has saved is so high.
“On average, we get about 10 to 15 dogs every weekend,” said Swindells. “We’re able to have that many dogs because of how much people love to volunteer. We are so happy when people decide to jump in and volunteer with us.”
Those looking to volunteer or to adopt a dog, can go to the Burlington County Animal Alliance website to fill out an application. The organization is planning events to celebrate the last 20 years, and information will also be on the website.