By Paige Bolen
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer
LANSING -– Since being established in 1994, PetSmart Charities, Inc. have created and supported programs that save the lives of homeless pets.With this ideology, Capital Area Humane Society, 7095 W. Grand River Ave., in Lansing, has been an adoption partner with the Okemos PetSmart, 5135 Times Square Plaza, for several years.
Adoptions and foster coordinator at Capital Area Humane Society, Kristen McCann, said adoptions at PetSmart greatly benefit the society.
“Having animals in the Okemos store exposes them to additional potential adopters that may not have seen them otherwise,” McCann said. “It also provides Okemos and East Lansing area residents an opportunity to adopt a pet nearby without traveling to the main shelter location in northwest Lansing.”
According to PetSmart Senior Marketing Manager, Jeff Davis, Adoption Centers are in every PetSmart store in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, where local animal-welfare agencies use the space to find homes for dogs and cats.
CAHS’ main focus at the Okemos PetSmart is the adoption of cats and kittens in their store. The Okemos Adoption Center can house six to 12 felines.
“In 2011, we adopted 129 cats and kittens from the PetSmart in Okemos. Capital Area did a total of 1,330 cat adoptions in 2011,” said McCann. “PetSmart cat adoptions alone consist of roughly 10% or our annual feline adoptions.”Even though there is a smaller selection of cats at the Okemos PetSmart, McCann said having adoptions there continues to help the society.
“Housing cats and kittens in the PetSmart store allows us the opportunity to increase our cage capacity which ultimately allows us to help and adopt out more cats every year,” McCann said. “The Adoption Center also helps spread the word about the services that Capital Area provides and promotes the concept of adoption.”
Capital Area Humane Society Director of Development Eric Langdon acknowledges it is difficult to change perception about humane societies.
“A lot of people think shelter animals are bad animals, or unhealthy animals but that couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Langdon. “Capital Area is determined to erase negative stigmas about shelters and increase knowledge of just how great adopting a pet can be.”
Through its in-store adoption program, according to Davis, PetSmart Charities has helped save the lives of more than 4.9 million pets.
Capital Area Humane Society understands that bringing dogs into the store may increase adoptions.
“Typically, Capital Area only brings available dogs and puppies for adoption on Saturday as there is more adopter traffic on the weekends,” McCann said. “We would love to increase adoptions at the Okemos PetSmart store by including more dogs and puppies at our Adoption events.”
McCann said the society is hoping to accomplish this goal over the next year.
Davis said that a pet is adopted every minute that a PetSmart Charities Adoption Center is open.
With the help from PetSmart, Capital Area Humane Society plans on increasing adoptions by expanding its advertising efforts to focus on more off site events.
“We expect that the Capital Area Humane Society-PetSmart relationship will continue to be beneficial for years to come,” said McCann.