The kennels of Maricopa County Animal Care and Control are now only slightly overcrowded -- rather than bursting at the seams -- thanks to a tremendous community turnout to this month's MCACC's $17 adoption sale.
Since July 12, shelters have seen about 1,200 adoptions --more than double the adoption rate from the same period last year. But MCACC's shelters continue to take in more dogs than they adopt out, despite the outpouring of community support.
"Oh my gosh, it's going incredibly well," MCACC shelter division manager Linda Soto tells New Times. "Last year, we had an adoption rate of 578. Now this year, from those exact dates we have 1,195 adopted. Unfortunately we didn't see any impact in our intake numbers. We're still at 150 a day of new dogs coming in."
Despite concerns about people only adopting pets because of the $17 price tag, Soto says the shelter's return rates haven't changed and that the constantly high intake numbers are the result of the hot Phoenix summer.
"It's the end of August to the beginning of September when we see the lower intake numbers," she says. "We do see seasonal correlations in adoptions, particularly in the summer when people are going through life changes."
As adoption numbers continue to rise, shelter officials say Pitbulls aren't getting adopted much.
Right now, the breed makes up 30 to 35 percent of the MCACC dog population. With no sign of the numbers diminishing, county shelters are dedicating next year to education and outreach methods to polish the breed's tarnished reputation.
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"They're great dogs, but they aren't the perfect pet for everyone," Soto says. "They crave human companionship, and a lot of people don't understand that commitment. There's also a huge amount of people buying these puppies from back-ally breeders who are just out to make a buck, and we just get so many of those unwanted dogs."
Residents sometimes drop off a pet at a shelter assuming that the dog or cat off will be adopted.
That's not always the case.
"We're really blunt," Soto says. "We tell people 'you have to understand, your dog may be wonderful, but he may change. It's not likely your pet will find a home if you leave [it] here.' [We tell them that they're] basically condemning [the] pet to death."