ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The coronavirus pandemic has impacted much of 2020, but Orange County Animal Services says it’s marking the year as a successful one as they celebrate their highest live release date yet.
The agency was able to release 10,032 animals from its shelter this year, which equates to about 88% of its impounds. This number includes adoptions, rescues, relocated animals and pets returned to owners. The live release date last year was 82%.
Shelter representatives are calling this an impressive feat, as the 51-year-old animal shelter is Orange County’s only open-admission shelter. This means at OCAS, no animal in need is turned away regardless of individual health or temperament challenges.
OCAS says this number was achievable because of its volunteers who logged 14,453 hours during the fiscal year, helping facilitate adoptions and guest interactions. The shelter also had more than 62,500 guests come through their doors, making it more likely for a pet to find it’s forever home.
“Whenever we’ve turned to the community for assistance, we’ve been amazed at the response. Additionally, one of our strongest networks is that of our staff, a group of people united by their shared compassion for helping pets and one that has shown, this year especially, the ability to adapt at a moment’s notice," said Diane Summers who manages the shelter.
Summers believes the COVID-19 pandemic may have impacted this year’s numbers. “I think it increased the desire for people to seek out a companion during these isolating times,” she explained. “Also, I think now more than ever people are viewing pets as an extension of their family and making efforts to keep them, even in the face of obstacles, which I suspect is part of the reason we’ve received 5,000 less animals this year than the year prior.”