Southern Indiana shelter finds every dog, cat a home

Southern Indiana shelter finds every dog, cat a home
Every pet was adopted from the Harrison County Animal Shelter on Wednesday.

CORYDON, IN (WAVE) - In a time of so many stories about puppy mills and overflowing animal shelters comes something that seems unheard of.

The Harrison County Animal Shelter was full just one week ago. But a dedicated staff, a big adoption push and some creative marketing got every cat and dog adopted on Wednesday.

The animal shelter posted a picture on Facebook showing every single adoption cage empty. It was a big hit on social media, and very unusual.

"It's a first for the shelter," Animal Control Warden for Harrison County Franca Hardin said.

The shelter has been busy since it opened in 2005, but what happened this week at the Harrison County Animal Shelter was a stunner to employees, volunteers and the community.

"It's a huge deal," Hardin said. "Something that we are very proud of as a staff."

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A Facebook post showing every cage empty got more than 1,200 likes. Every leash was on the hook, every dog and cat adopted - and that includes Socks, the last cat to leave for a forever home.

"It's a really a big shock more than anything, because I've been here going on six years and it's never happened," Office Manager Amber Brewer said.

Just a week ago, the shelter - which can hold 50 cats and has 18 full-sized dog runs, with additional space for puppies - was packed. Not long ago, they got 25 cats checked-in before lunchtime.

"Right now, us not having anything, is like...my mind blown," Brewer smiled.

So without a website for adoption, how did they do it?

"We wanted to create an environment that was healthy for the animals and appealing to the public," Hardin answered.

With that motto in mind, the shelter's dedicated, creative team speaks to schools, holds adoption events, constantly posts adoptive bios on social media and comes up with creative names for adoptable pets. That's why Lil' Kim [a small dog] got adopted. Disney-themed names are popular, too.

"A lot of kids come in here and are like, 'Oh my gosh, that's Elsa, I've got to have Elsa!'" Brewer said.

The shelter also posts where they find animals on Facebook, in hopes that lost pets can be reunited with their owners.

"Return to owners were up 75 percent," Hardin said of 2017 numbers for the shelter.

On Thursday morning, three stray cats came in. Finding them a new home was all the staff needed to keep the momentum going.

"It's what we want to do," Hardin said. "We want to keep going."

Harrison County won't euthanize animals based on time spent at the shelter. If the shelter has the space, they keep working to place animals. Shelter staff just found a home for a cat that had been there for three months.

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