Clear the Shelters: A busy, fun and fulfilling day for the Burlington County Animal Shelter

On Saturday, Aug. 17, the Burlington County Animal Shelter was one of the many shelters nationwide that participated in the “Clear the Shelters” event. The goal of the event is to find loving homes for as many pets as possible

Special to the Sun: Pictured is Burlington County Freeholder Dan O’Connell at the Burlington County Animal Shelter adoption event “Clear the Shelter” on Aug. 17. Clear the Shelter is a nationwide event that strives to find loving homes for pets.

On Saturday, Aug. 17, the Burlington County Animal Shelter was one of the many shelters nationwide that participated in the Clear the Shelters event. The goal is to find loving homes for as many pets as possible.

The Burlington County Animal Shelter first heard about the event through NBC news and social media a few years ago. It began its first trial of the event in 2015, and, according to Daisha Pierce, the Management Specialist at the Burlington County Animal Shelter, in 2016 the county provided the animal shelter with a new data system that allowed the shelter to complete same-day adoptions. The county has participated every year since, with this year having the highest adoption rate so far.

“Clear the Shelter was busy, fun and fulfilling,” said Pierce. “Loads of volunteers and staff on hand to help with adoptions, the shelter was going non-stop. For the actual Clear the Shelters day, we did a total of 17 dogs and 67 cats. Burlington County Animal Shelter then has a weekend total of 107 animals out of the shelter.”

According to Pierce, the Burlington County Animal Shelter operates at near or full capacity during the summer months since it is an open-intake shelter. When full, the shelter can house more than 100 dogs and 300 cats. However, during the summer months, between 50 dogs and 80 cats are generally available for adoption. Aside from their adoption areas, the shelter also has holding areas where some animals are awaiting the stray times or simply waiting for space on the adoption floor to become available. The large numbers of the animal shelter is a key reason to why the Clear the Shelters event is so necessary.

“Burlington County Animal Shelter is very happy with this campaign. It is critical that we keep up this pace and find a home for every pet,” said Dan O’Connell, a member of the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders. “Campaigns like Clear the Shelter offer a great opportunity for the shelter staff to engage with prospective families while saving the lives of wonderful and deserving animals.

“Pets also give adoptive families a sense of community,” O’Connell continued. “Simply having pets can spark conversations, get people engaged in community activities, help people become motivated in physical activities and so much more. This event allows us to make all of those connections on a larger scale while showing solidarity with other shelters striving to make a difference.”

According to Pierce, in preparation of such a large event, the Burlington County Animal Shelter staff makes sure that all available animals are spayed or neutered and vaccinated. It allows the animals the chance to leave right away with their new families.

While the event is over, those still looking to adopt a pet are encouraged to visit the shelter and also check out the Burlington County Animal Shelter website at www.co.burlington.nj.us/168/Animal-Shelter to see the adoption process and to see what’s available now. Potential adopters can fill out an application to become an approved adopter, and once they are an approved adopter, they may then take out the animal that they are interested in to interact with it or any other animal still available.

“On behalf of the entire Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders, I want to thank everyone who helped Clear the Shelter,” said O’Connell. “It is important that we participate in events like this to find these pets their forever homes.”