Campaign raises adoption rates
By Brendan Quealy
The eco-friendly “green” movement has been successful, and so have campaigns urging people to adopt from local shelters and rescues. It makes sense that the two would eventually cross paths, and they have—in Bloomington. On behalf of all the adoptable pets in Indiana, in combination with the City of Bloomington’s continuous efforts promoting sustainable living, Mayor Mark Kruzan and the city’s Animal Care & Control (ACC) are spreading the message to go green and adopt a shelter dog.
The “Go Green. Adopt a Hybrid” campaign is one of just many ACC is promoting in order to raise awareness about the great animals at Indiana shelters. Previous tactics include a play on car dealership commercials, urging people to come down to the shelter to adopt a “certified, pre-owned cat.”
“[ACC] is full of great dogs waiting to be placed into a new home, and we don’t need to support the breeding of more dogs when there are already so many available in shelters like these,” says Kruzan. “Adopting from a shelter will give you a loving friend and help alleviate pet overpopulation in the community.”
Laurie Ringquist, director of ACC, is thrilled to have the support of the mayor’s office, especially because she knows just how much events and promotions like these help increase adoption. “Any time we offer a special adoption fee, our adoption rates go up,” explains Ringquist. “We hear a lot of positive comments, and it helps when we have a clever slogan or theme that ties in with something going on locally or is popular right now.”
ACC usually promotes these events with half-priced adoption fees of either $37.50 or $27.50, which include the first round of vaccinations, a visit to the veterinarian, heartworm medication, microchipping, and spaying or neutering. Ringquist is happy to do whatever she can to help her adorable mutts. “A wide variety of sizes and combinations of breeds are available here,” notes Ringquist. “Hybrids often demonstrate the best of both breeds and the shelter can help you find just the right match.” Ringquist sees these events as great opportunities to connect with the people of Bloomington and break some of those preconceived notions and misperceptions about the animal shelter world—and ACC in particular. “I think when you work at Animal Care & Control, and you have to enforce the ordinances and write the tickets, people have a very negative view of you—because you have to be the ‘bad guy,’” says Ringquist. “We work very hard at focusing on the community, and we work really, really hard at being friendly and welcoming.”
As one of the only open-admission shelters in the area, ACC cannot turn away any animal, so there are struggles with overcrowded shelter conditions, sometimes resulting in euthanasia. “Nobody wants to euthanize,” explains Ringquist. “Over the years our euthanasia rate has gone down, but that [won’t] happen if adoption rates go down and intake goes up.” ACC works with people in the community through a pet food bank, offering low-cost spay/neuter procedures, helping with veterinary bills, and taking whatever steps necessary to see that animals are not needlessly relinquished. Ringquist knows it is the people that make the difference.
“We have very active volunteer and foster programs,” says Ringuist, who was able to place 95 percent of the more than 700 animals who came through ACC in 2011. “I want people to say, ‘Hey, I’ve been to a shelter and look at this great animal I got.’”
For more information please visit Bloomington.in.gov/AnimalShelter