‘Clear the Shelters’ initiative draws large crowd

County’s animal facility part of adoption and donation campaign

Special to The Sun: The Burlington County Animal Shelter’s four-legged residents mingled with community members at the “Clear the Shelters” open house, where adoption fees were waived.

The county’s animal facility participated in NBC’s “Clear the Shelters” event with an adoption open house on Aug. 27.

“‘Clear the Shelters’ has been a very great, successful event,” said Ericka Haines, director of the Burlington County Animal Shelter. “It’s great to see so many volunteers and staff members come together to make an event come to be a success.”

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All adoption fees were waived at the open house, and nine dogs and 14 cats found new families.

“We’ve had such great turnout with the community,” Haines said. “They’re coming in to see what’s out there. It blows your mind that so many people forget that we’re still here, so an event like this is really bringing out different types of crowds from all different generations, ages, different areas where they live. So it’s been fantastic.”

“It’s just so great to actually see so many people come together, especially after COVID,” she added. “Unfortunately, with COVID, we’ve had so many animals surrendered because of people losing their homes or going back to work.. 

“So it’s just so great to see the communities coming together to help us find homes for these animals.”

According to cleartheshelters.com, “Clear the Shelters” is an annual, nationwide pet adoption and shelter donation campaign spearheaded by NBCUniversal Local, a division of NBCUniversal television. The county’s open house featured food trucks, music, games and pets, and was organized by the county in partnership with the Friends of the Burlington County Animal Shelter.

According to shelterfriendsofbcas.org, that nonprofit cooperates with the county’s animal shelter to care for shelter pets and place them into adoptive homes. The Friends also work to reduce the number of homeless pets in the community by sponsoring low-cost spay-neuter surgeries. 

Mary Beth Morrone, the nonprofit’s director, talked about her favorite part of the open house.

“ … Seeing the animals get adopted,” she noted. “The ones that have been in foster that we know have been here for a little while and really would be such great pets and just needed a chance.”

Absolute Control Dog Training (ACDT) raffled off a training package and Donald Lamb, a trainer there, also works with the county shelter’s dogs.

“ … I know there’s a lot of great dogs here and sometimes they just need a little bit of tuning up,” he said. “ … If we can help get a dog to sit nicely and present better and get adopted and find a home, that’s really worth it.”

“The idea of a nationwide event where the goal is to just get dogs homes, just to see all these people show up for this cause, I think it’s a very worthwhile cause,” Lamb added of “Clear the Shelters.”

 Haines enjoys helping others find new pets at the open house.

“I love to talk to people, educate people, see what they’re looking for, because there’s so many things that once you talk to a person one on one, you can really find a way to find the right animal for them,” she said.

“We’ve found so many homes for animals today just by talking with the community face to face.”

For more information on pet adoption, visit www.co.burlington.nj.us/168/Animal-Shelter.

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