Many times we can do more when we join together with those whom we share a common passion. Such is the case for Forsyth Humane Society (FHS) and Forsyth County Animal Shelter and their combined effort to care for the animals who are at the shelter. As of January 2018, FHS assumed care of the cats and dogs at the county shelter, overseeing intake, sheltering, care, fostering, and adoption. One of the goals of this undertaking is to increase the save rate for the animals at the shelter from 36% to 90% by the year 2023. Sarah Williamson, Executive Director of Forsyth Humane Society, said, “We began an informal dialogue with Forsyth County leadership about ways we could work together to increase the save rate at the shelter. It is increasingly common in the country for the government agency that typically runs an open admission shelter to partner with a 501 (c)(3) animal welfare agency. That was where our partnership began.” And so far, FHS is making great strides in the save rate in just a year!
Adopt, Foster or Transport
In just a year, the save rate has gone from 36% to 71%, an accomplishment due to several things falling into place. “The difference-makers this past year were our foster program and our initiative to transfer or transport animals to other rescues. We host between 300-500 animals in foster homes every month. These fosters offer an animal love in a home environment and free up kennel space in the shelter for the next animal who needs the space. Fosters buy us time and space, as well as provide terrific notes on the animal’s likes and dislikes, so when that cat or dog is up for adoption, we can make the best match for them,” said Sarah. Beyond the fostering, about 300 animals each month are transferred to other rescues in the country.
“We work with about 50 breed-specific rescues up and down the east coast, humane societies, and SPCA shelters in PA, DE, MD, and DC. These rescues and shelters find the animals their forever homes, and again, we open up much-needed kennel space for the next animal in Forsyth County who needs it,” Sarah commented. Of course, adoption is the goal for all the animals at the shelter. Even with the programs in place, achieving a 90% save rate by 2023 is still an ambitious goal.
Education on Animal Overpopulation is Key
“Closing the gap between 71% and 90% will likely happen in smaller and harder-won increments. We plan to work with our community to increase awareness around the need to trap, neuter, and return community/feral cats. We are also working hard to increase awareness about the need to spay and neuter your animals and to ensure those surgeries are affordable and accessible. Helping people who need to rehome their animals do so without bringing animals into the shelter is also an important step. We are fortunate to live in a community of engaged and generous animal lovers! You can adopt. You can donate supplies. You can volunteer. You can foster. You can give financially. We’re asking for all who support a save rate of 90% in Forsyth County to embrace #savefursyth on social media and in their place of business. Post a picture of your animal and include #savefursyth! Spread the word!” Sarah stated.
One of FHS’s biggest fundraising events is coming up on Saturday, May 4th with the 4th Annual Mutt Strut 5K presented by Bob King Automotive Group. “The Mutt Strut 5K is a fun time in Lewisville, NC. This is family and dog-friendly USATF sanctioned race with proceeds benefitting Forsyth Humane Society.
“FHS is fortunate and proud to be working in coalition with more than ten other animal welfare agencies in Forsyth County to achieve a 90% save rate. It is possible with the great community we have to make a difference in the lives of more cats and dogs than ever,” said Sarah.
For more information on Forsyth Humane Society, visit forsythhumane.org. To register for the Mutt Strut, go to forsythhumane.org/muttstrut.