Animal rescue and shelter workers are doing more to help dogs and cats in need than ever before.
Here’s how to do it.
The number of animals rescued by animal welfare organizations is up, and that trend is accelerating in the United States, where the number of adoptions of stray animals has soared over the past decade, reaching its highest level in more than a decade, according to a new report from the nonprofit Humane Education Network.
In 2014, the Humane Education Center (HEN) found that nearly 6 million dogs and more than 9 million cats were adopted nationwide, an increase of more than 200,000 since 2010.
The numbers are expected to increase again this year, with more adoptions expected in 2017.
The most common reasons for a dog or cat to be adopted include being abandoned or abused, mental illness, and severe health issues.
The vast majority of adoptable pets are dogs and/or cats that were adopted by a person who was caring for them at the time of adoption.
“We are finding more dogs and cat adoptions every year,” said Jennifer Cottam, director of public relations for HEN, in a statement.
“And it’s no surprise.
It’s because of our mission of caring for animals, and because we believe in the power of community to create an environment where people can share in a life-saving service.”
The average age of a dog and cat’s owner is five years old, according a 2016 study by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA), and about one-third of those dogs and pets are under the age of four.
According to a study by HEN released last year, many shelters in the U.S. are not doing enough to care for the homeless, and many shelter workers fail to take the necessary steps to protect animals from physical and emotional abuse.
“A shelter worker who has not been trained to protect their animals, or who does not recognize the importance of doing so, may have a difficult time communicating with the shelter staff and the public about the importance to adopt animals from these animals,” Cottams said in a release.HEN has partnered with Shelter for the Homeless and Shelter on Dog & Cat Rescue to offer free adoption classes in areas such as pet stores, shelters, animal rescue groups, adoption agencies and schools.
“It’s time we took a more proactive approach and were adopting more animals from people we cared about,” Cattam said in the release.
“It’s been an absolute lifesaver for us, because dogs and people are much more likely to get through the shelter system and make it through the process.”
The Humane Education Group offers a free adoption class each week through its online application, which can be accessed at www.humaneeducation.org.
The HEN program is a collaborative effort between a number of different nonprofit organizations and organizations with specific goals in helping dogs and other pets.
It includes many different programs for the general public, as well as those that focus on animal welfare and the homeless.
In addition to HEN and Shelter for The Homeless, the group also provides free adoption support to the general population and the LGBTQ community.
To learn more about adoptions and how you can help animals, visit www.heng.org or call (866) 567-3633.