October is Adopt-a-Dog Month

October is Adopt-A-Dog month at the American Humane Society. The organization is encouraging you to think about getting a new pet and wants you to adopt from a local shelter. The Humane Society statistics show that approximately 8 million unwanted animals are taken into shelters each year, and 3.7 million animals are euthanized because they are unable to find homes.

Peoria County Animal Services (PCAPS) is a partner with the Peoria Humane Society (PHS) and takes in more than 8,000 animals each year with the majority being cats and dogs. Most of the animals brought into the shelter are strays, but about 30 percent of them are from owners who have to give up or no longer want their pet. Unfortunately the shelter has to euthanize approximately 60 percent of the animals it takes in due to behavioral problems or lack of homes.

Adopting from a shelter is an easy way to find a new pet. Animals that come from shelters are screened for behavioral and health problems and necessary vaccinations. When you adopt from a shelter, you know you are getting a loving and healthy friend.

Before adopting a pet from a shelter, the Humane Society recommends doing research to determine which type of animal and breed will fit into your lifestyle. Pets are a lifelong responsibility, and the Humane Society has tools to help you find the right pet. When you feel you are ready to adopt a pet, then it is time to visit an animal shelter to find your new friend.

PCAPS provides affordable adoption to all residents: $100 for dogs and puppies, $75 for cats and kittens, $50 for rabbits, and $10 for small pets. The adoption fee for dogs and cats includes a microchip, vaccinations, and de-wormer, and all adopted dogs and cats are spayed and neutered. To adopt a new pet, visit the shelter from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, or to see a limited list of animals available for adoption visit www.petharbor.com. Let a staff member know when you see an animal you are interested in, and she/he will allow you a private visit. If you two are compatible, then the adoption process begins. The shelter requests that all family members meet and approve of pet before taking it home. There is at least a 24 hour waiting period before the pet goes home to allow for the shelter to examine the animal and bathe it. PCAPS requests that owners take the new pet to a veterinarian within seven – ten days of adoption for a rabies vaccination and license.

Many people do not find their pets on the first or even second visit to the shelter, so PCAPS encourages residents to check frequently.

In addition to providing the city with a place to adopt animals, the shelter sponsors programs in community awareness, education, and public safety. The shelter also provides low cost spay and neuter surgeries to low income and elderly residents.

To celebrate Adopt-A-Dog month the Peoria Humane Society is hosting their 14th annual Bark in the Park on October 10 at the Peoria Riverfront. Bark in the Park is their primary fundraiser each year and is a walk to raise money and awareness for the services provided by PHS.

Advanced registration for the walk is $20 for a walker and one dog, and event day registration is $25. Animal lovers without dogs are welcome too. All walkers receive a Bark in the Park t-shirt, bandanna, goody bag, and complimentary photograph at the event.

Walkers are encouraged to raise pledges. According to PHS, raising even $25 worth of pledges will cover the cost of one spay or neuter of a dog or cat. PHS even is offering free personalized fundraising pages to help make raising pledges easier and more fun.

All proceeds benefit community programs, education, cruelty rescue, and adoption programs put on by the Humane Society.

Registration and check in begins at 11:00 a.m., and the fun begins at noon with a Great American Marvelous Mutt Show. All dogs are welcome to register for the Mutt Show, and categories include Best Trick, Best Dressed Dog, Most Wags per Minute, Dog-Owner Look-Alike, Best Smoocher, and a Face Only a Mother Could Love. The walk begins at 2:00 p.m.

Those not participating in the walk can join the event by paying $5 admission for people 13 and over and those 12 and younger are free. There will be raffles, games, and exhibits for people and plenty of treats, entertainment, and activities for dogs too.

One sale at Bark in the Park is the new PHS 2011 Pawprints pet photo calendar. The calendar features the pets submitted to the Pawprints photo contest and costs $10. All proceeds benefit the Peoria Humane Society.

For more information please contact Peoria County Animal Protection Services at www.peoriacounty.org/pcaps or 309-672-2440 and the Peoria Humane Society at www.peoriahs.org or 309- 682-9015.

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