CAMPBELL COUNTY, TN. (WLAF)- An estimated 245,000 additional dogs and cats are waiting in the shelter system this holiday season compared to this time last year. There’s no better time to adopt. From now through Jan. 15, 2024, people can name the adoption fee on all adult dogs at the Campbell County Animal Shelter.

Shelter Animals Count (SAC), the most trusted and current source for animal sheltering data, urges potential pet parents to be holiday adopters, rather than holiday shoppers, when it comes to getting a pet this season. There’s no better time to adopt, as new estimates show there are nearly 245,000 additional pets waiting in the shelter system this holiday season compared to last year. This means the shelter population has grown by nearly a quarter million animals in 2023. This is critical for shelters, who were already overwhelmed and overcapacity at the end of 2022.

“Opting to adopt from shelters or rescue groups not only saves lives and sends a message of support to struggling shelters, but it also fills the demand of pet-seeking families with pets from within already saturated communities,” said Stephanie Filer, executive director for Shelter Animals Count. “Adopting a pet is the most sustainable and socially conscious choice, which helps alleviate the shelter crisis, rather than compounding it.” “For those not ready to adopt, fostering is also a wonderful way to help, as it offers animals a break from the shelter environment, and lightens the load for overburdened shelter staff, even temporarily,” Filer added. In addition, fostering helps dogs get adopted.

With the current date being close to Christmas, there is an increasing urgency for adoption in our local community. As the temperatures drop and the festive spirit spreads, many people are considering bringing a new family member home. This is a unique opportunity for us to find forever homes for the animals in care. The shelter is in dire need of supplies like blankets, food, toys, and medical resources to ensure the well-being of the shelter residents during this time.