When Partnerships Bring Animals Home
by Lee Chambers
For years now Dakin has been talking about Dixie dogs (and cats) from southern shelters, as well as the small animals we've taken in (or sent to) other shelters in Massachusetts or New Hampshire. Why do all these animals get moved around to find new homes in other places? It's all about doing what's best for them.
It's a fact that pet overpopulation is a reality in southern states. The northeast has curbed overpopulation through spay/neuter practices, but in other parts of the country it's still an issue. Spay/neuter services may be too expensive, or offered in facilities hours away. Unwanted litters are born, and animals end up in overcrowded shelters where euthanasia is sometimes the response to this problem.
How we get transported animals here
When we work with transport partners like Operation Pets Alive (OPA) out of Texas, or Furkids in Georgia, these terrific organizations identify animals that fit Dakin's criteria and comply with Massachusetts laws regarding transports (health certifications, rabies vaccination records, quarantine upon arrival and other requirements). The partner organization coordinates transports with us that bring animals to Dakin to help us keep pace with the demand for adoptions. It's a win/win in so many ways.
When it comes to small animals, we sometimes find ourselves with lots of a particular species (guinea pigs, rabbits and rats were recent examples), and struggle to find space for them. That’s when we reach out to organizations like the MSPCA at Nevins Farm (Methuen, MA), MSPCA-Angell (Boston), or the Humane Societies in Lowell or Swanzey, NH. Sometimes it becomes a case of bartering, say, if we ask Lowell to take some guinea pigs, but they report that they've got lots of birds, we'll take some of their birds on our trip back. In 2019 alone, nearly 200 small animals at Dakin were accepted into those partner shelters in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
"It's frequently a trade," says Dakin's Director of Operations Karina King. "Sometimes we're trying to balance the variety of small pets, so we have what adopters are looking for and we can move them into homes in a reasonable amount of time, which is important. Local collaboration sustains those relationships.”
An even closer ally is Thomas J. O'Connor Animal Control & Adoption Center in Springfield. According to Karina, "We take animals from TJO when they need help, usually smalls, occasionally cats/kittens, and usually special needs cases like bottle babies."
Locals Come First
While Dakin continues to be involved in transports, our focus remains on serving our local animal population first and foremost. Dixie transports make up around 12% of our cat/dog intake over the course of a year, and they take place only when we have the space available to them after allocating resources for local animals in need.
While transports currently help southern shelters that have an oversupply of animals and an undersupply of adopters, animal welfare leaders predict a change in the future. "Today they're (southern shelters) where we were twenty years ago," says Karina. "We’ve made a lot of progress, but they’re not quite there yet. We’re helping them while they work hard toward the goal of being able to adopt out all their own animals locally."
In the meantime, these transport partnerships have allowed countless animals to find happy futures. Your support of Dakin Humane Society allows us to keep building bridges for animals who may need to travel a long distance to find their way home.