By: Sarah A. Neikam, Marketing Director
On July 22, the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare concluded a very successful week of animal adoptions during the statewide event “Pick Me! SC” that ran from July 14 to 23 with an amazing total of 41 dogs, 37 cats, and one parakeet adopted into forever homes. Crowds of prospective pet owners packed the shelter’s lobby each day of the event, with each individual or family hoping to find their new furry family member.
“Pick Me! SC” is an annual adoption drive aimed at rehoming thousands of homeless pets, with participating shelters, rescues, and Petco Stores offering free or low-fee adoptions; a move that is considered a life-saving strategy. This year’s goal was to find homes for 2,000 pets across the state. Spearheaded by the No Kill SC 2024 project, the initiative encouraged pet lovers to give a second chance at happiness to homeless pets.
According to research by leading organizations like ASPCA, Maddie’s Fund, and Best Friends Animal Society, fee-waived adoptions are an effective way of saving animal lives. A study conducted by Maddie’s Fund of a sponsored adoption event in San Francisco in 2011 confirmed this, revealing that 6 to 12 months post-adoption, 95 percent of dogs and 93 percent of cats remained in their original forever homes, signifying a lower return rate than most shelters and rescue groups typically experience.
The week-long event reiterated the importance of a well-structured, conversation-based adoption process and a short application. Animal shelters participating in this process maintain that individuals with nefarious intentions are unlikely to pursue adoptions due to the fear of their actions and identity being documented. Consequently, an effective adoption process is key to attracting quality adopters, irrespective of the adoption fee.
Studies on fee-waived adoptions have debunked the misconception that high adoption fees ensure a better quality of home for adopted pets or guarantee an adopter’s future ability to care for them. As confirmed by a study in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, people who adopted cats with waived fees exhibited an equal level of attachment as those who paid full adoption fees. The study also highlighted that waiving adoption fees did not devalue the animals in the adopters’ eyes.
Even better news is that reduced and no-fee adoptions lead to financial savings for animal welfare organizations in the long term. The longer an animal remains in a shelter, the greater the likelihood of them developing health or behavioral issues, which inevitably incur treatment costs. Speedier adoptions thus mean reduced expenditure on pet care. Most importantly, however, quicker adoptions result in happier, healthier animals, and more lives saved.
The annual “Pick Me! SC” adoption event left a memorable mark on the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare, reflecting its unwavering commitment to the wellbeing of animals and reminding us of the invaluable role of community support in the fight against animal homelessness.
Sarah Neikam is the SPCA Albrecht Center’s Marketing Director and has been a staff member since 2012, serving first as Volunteer Coordinator, then Digital Media Manager and as Director of Operations & HR from 2018 until 2023 when she returned to her marketing role. Sarah earned her Certified Animal Welfare Administrator credential in January, 2022. She lives in Aiken with her husband Tom, their three adopted cats: Bastian, Luna & Grady, plus three former feral cats: Phoebe, Big Boy & Willow, who are happy to take advantage of the safety and consistent meals the Neikam home provides.