Several dogs were taken on a transport from the Conway Animal Welfare Unit on Monday to cities in Michigan where they will hopefully find homes very quickly.
Shona Osborne, director of the Conway Animal Welfare Unit, said Conway has been participating since January with the PetSmart Charities Rescue Waggin’, sending 126 dogs so far to various locations in Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan. She explained the charity works to move dogs from high volume shelters to other shelters that have high adoption rates. Conway is considered a source shelter, she said. The animal welfare unit had to pass an inspection to participate in the program, as do the shelters that are receiving the animals, she added.
The program has helped the animal welfare unit reduce its euthanasia rate, she said. In her 11 years with the shelter, it has not increased its size, but Conway’s population has grown significantly.
“It’s hard to keep up. We’re always looking for ways to manage that,” she said.
The animals have to undergo a thorough inspection to ensure they are healthy and stable enough for travel and contact with a lot of people on their long journey, Osborne said.
“You want to make sure the most well-balanced animal goes,” she said.
About every two weeks, she submits a list of animals with photos, vaccine histories and other information. Workers with the rescue group inspect each dog. Upon their arrival at their final destination, the dogs are inspected by a veterinarian, and most will be adopted within about 10 days, Osborne said.
“They operate in 23 states,” she said of PetSmart Charities Rescue Waggin’. “They launched in 2004. Sixty-one shelters participate. We’re just one of an elite few lucky enough to be part of this program.”
Since 2004 the program has moved 69,000 dogs, she noted.
“It’s been a blessing for us,” she said.
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