Clear the Shelters Recap

This last weekend dozens of volunteers came to LHS to help during NBC and Telemundo's "Clear the Shelters" national adoption promotion. They cleaned cages, helped with media, brought snacks for the team and generally helped our facility and animals look their best. We can't thank you enough for your time and dedication.
Last year this event was incredibly successful for LHS: we waived fees on dogs over 40 pounds and cats over 4 months and were able to place 17 dogs and 22 cats into new homes. This year we did exactly the same thing, but we weren't so successful. I wanted to take a moment to talk about why:
Many things in animal welfare are out of LHS's control. We don't control the numbers or types of animals who come through our doors each day; sigmas related to "pit-bull type" dogs; or the policies of other animal welfare organizations.
Last year LHS was one of the only shelters in NJ participating in this new event. We waived fees on the animals who were the most vulnerable and least likely to get adopted quickly, because we know these are the animals who need the most exposure in order to find someone willing to take them home. We drew a crowd, and the people who came to LHS to adopt a pet naturally chose to focus on the animals who were available that day without a fee. That's exactly what we wanted. It worked, and it was amazing. We rely on successes like these. 
This year there were many more NJ shelters who participated in this adoption event. Of those shelters, several offered all the animals in their facilities, including puppies and kittens, for adoption at no fee. So this year, when people looking to adopt researched their options, they made a different choice. They didn't come to LHS to adopt a 40 pound adult dog. They went somewhere else for a free puppy. It was basic supply and demand. 
I'm not going to lie. That hurts. Because we really are in the business of saving lives. We don't just say it; we're serious about finding a home for every adoptable animal in our care. Our community animals in need are often challenging and require a lot of resources. But that doesn't make them any less worthy. I know you believe that -- that's why you're here.
LHS chooses to focus on these community animals first. We do not import puppies and kittens, because we believe they lessen the value of our local pets. But that means our job is just that much harder. We have to be that much better than everyone else in order to be heard.
The good news is, we're getting there. Best Friends has been incredibly supportive of our mission to serve local pets. Our "Adopt Local" position statement has convinced some adopters to look local first. And you--our volunteers--have been exceptional.
Everything you do to spread the word about local adoption makes a difference. Every conversation you have about why breed or weight restrictions are outdated matters. Every time you publicly express your support for local adoption you are a force for change. Thank you for your advocacy. Thank you for your voice.
Together we find homes for thousands of at-risk pets each year, and we're often working against the status quo. That's exactly why we're needed.