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New program aims to reduce animal surrenders

The Clark County Animal Shelter introduced a new tool to help pets find their “furever” homes.

The shelter is now one of only about 10 shelters nationwide that is part of the program, called Home To Home.

Director Adreanna Wills said Home To Home allows approved owners to post their pets on Clark County’s Home To Home site where potential adopters can view pets like they would view animals in the shelter.

“Home to Home was developed by an animal shelter that saw a large number of owner surrenders,” she said.

Wills first heard about the program from Dr. Sara Pizano, who led the shelter through an assessment earlier this year. The process of getting Home to Home up and ready has taken about eight weeks, Wills said.

Home to Home is a great option to keep more animals out of the shelter and keep pets in homes for a less stressful transition, Wills said.

Wills said people interested in rehoming their animals can contact the shelter and the shelter will refer owners to the site.

Before posting, the shelter verifies all animals are vaccinated and spayed or neutered, but all information as to breed, temperament and more is provided by the owner of the pet, not the shelter. If the pet isn’t spayed, neutered or vaccinated, the shelter can provide owners with information about the shelter’s low-cost spay and neuter programs and other resources.

“We want to be a resource,” Wills said.

With Home to Home, it is up to owners and adopters to do their homework. Though, the shelter will approve the final version of a pet’s profile.

“We’re hoping it will take off, and it will be a way to make owners more comfortable and to keep some animals out of the shelter,” she said.

Soon, the shelter’s website will include a link directly to Home to Home. Adopters can then directly contact owners through Home to Home.

“It’s nice to have that direct contact, and previous owners can be comfortable with where their animals are going,” Wills said.

Wills said the shelter will still accept owner surrenders, but if an owner can hold onto the animal for a bit longer, Home to Home is the better option.

“We’re definitely for any program that keeps animals out of the shelter,” she said.

The first pet has already been posted.

“We already got a couple of people taking advantage of it,” Wills said.

Adopters can learn more about Jax, an 18-month-old lab mix by visiting https://clarkshelter.home-home.org/pet/jax/.

According to the description, Jax is neutered and can live with children; however, he is still playful and “will knock small kids down.” He’s a little hyper, and he needs a home in the country where can run or someone willing to take him on walks and exercise him.

Jax also loves riding in the car. He’s housebroken and he has not lived with other dogs, but “seems curious and wants to play” when he sees other dogs, according to the post.

Maddie’s Fund, California-based funding source for animal shelters, covered the Home to Home fee for the first 12 months, Wills said, as Home to Home is still in its pilot phase. Wills said she hopes people take advantage of the program.

“If we can keep a program that keeps owned animals in homes where they are happy and comfortable instead of taking them to the shelter where it’s stressful, especially when transitioning is already hard, that’s definitely a plus,” she said.

About Lashana Harney

Lashana Harney is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. Her beats include schools and education, business and commerce, Winchester Municipal Utilities and other news. To contact her, email lashana.harney@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0015.

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