When the Bangor Humane Society emptied the shelter of animals in March as part of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’s Mega Match-a-thon, Executive Director Suzan Bell was beyond words.
“We were not ready for the emotion of having every animal adopted,” Bell said. “I will never forget standing in dog adoptions and hearing nothing but the air exchange.”
In March, the shelter had 101 animals available for adoption. The staff anticipated it would take all weekend to adopt out all the animals. Instead, it took “12.5 hours” That adoption drive showed that it was possible to find homes for area animals.
Now, the shelter is ready to do it again, and then some. The community voted for Bangor Humane Society to be one of 50 shelters nationwide — and the only shelter in Maine — to compete in the ASPCA’s Rachael Ray $100K Challenge.
Bell and her staff are ready for the three month challenge. According to the Challenge rules, the shelter needed to adopt out 300 more animals than it did last year from August 1-October 31. That meant 1,200 animals need to be adopted or reunited. The shelter with the biggest net change wins the $100,000. In addition, there’s a $20,000 grant for the shelter who is rated first in its geographic region and another $25,000 grant for community engagement through Facebook and Bangor Humane’s website.
“We are energized and driven by the possibility to transform our agency through this challenge into the premier pet adoption facility in our community,” Bell said. “If we win the challenge we will reinvest the money into developing and strengthening our community outreach programs to expand off-site adoption opportunities, grow our foster care family, and increase our collaborative partnerships with community organizations to increase the adoptability of our pets and to encourage pet adoption with our agency.”
Bangor Humane Society will work collaboratively with the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society in Lewiston and the Coastal Humane Society in Brunswick to reach their goal of 1,200 adoptions.
On the first day of the challenge, August 1, between foster care, in-house, and strays Bangor Humane Society had 300 pets available for adoption. By Monday, 140 animals were adopted. While the shelter was ready for a rush of adoptors Bell said activity was steady.
“We can keep all these animals healthy, do surgeries, and save their lives medically,” Bell said. “We do it all the time. But I can not personally adopt 1,200 animals. We need [the public] to come in and adopt.”
For people considering adoption, the matchmaking process is the same. Adoption fees are waived on adult cats seven months or older, and reduced 50 percent for adult dogs over seven months old. All animals adopted from Bangor Humane Society are current with immunizations, have been spayed or neutered, and come with a complete personality profile.
“We need adopters because at the same time that we’re adopting out animals we’re seeing more surrenders,” Bell said.
To stay current with the shelter’s progress, visit www.bangorhumane.org or visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BangorHumane.
If you want to help increase community awareness, especially on Facebook, use the hashtag #100KChallenge.