April 04, 2023
Ally and Gator, two pet alligators, were surrendered to ACCT Philly last week after their owner could no longer take care of them. Within five hours, the shelter found new homes for the reptiles.
That has not been the case for more than 100 dogs living in the shelter at ACCT Philly, the only open intake facility in the city. To find foster homes for some of the pups, the animal rescue has issued a new "Easier than an Alligator" challenge inspired by their recent experience.
"We were just we're kind of joking about like, 'If people haven't gotten the message yet, that shelters are in a crisis mode, knowing that it's easier for us to find placement for alligators than it is to find placement for dogs should make it pretty clear,'" Sarah Barnett of ACCT Philly said. "And then we thought it would be funny if we did (it) like, 'Hey, it's actually easier to save a life than it is to own alligator,' just to get a new spin on it."
In Facebook posts, ACCT Philly has highlighted the differences between fostering a dog and an alligator, noting that while gators are "not the best cuddlers" and "not remotely leash trained," several adoptable dogs at ACCT Philly are friendly, cuddly and great on the leash.
Unlike an alligator, a foster dog also doesn't need a "heated pool" or "whole prey, ideally live."
The goal of the campaign is to get 15 people who do not currently have dogs in their homes to foster pups from the shelter for a month. While the dogs are in foster homes, the facility hopes to gather enough information about each of them to showcase the dogs and promote them to potential, permanent owners.
Barnett said that when a dog is fostered, its temporary caretaker might learn that the dog loves to snuggle and sleeps on the bed or is completely house-trained, making it more appealing to potential adopters.
So far the shelter has found four foster families.
The process is simple: anyone can access the application online. Once it's submitted, ACCT Philly will reach out, and arrange a date for the applicant to meet the dogs.
"It's really easy, " Barnett said. "And the benefit is that you're not committed. I mean, it's perfect for people as they're going into the summer, they can count it as community service hours for kids, which is great. And we provide you the dog, the food. We can give you supplies, and we're not even asking you to keep the dog until they get adopted. If you want to, it's wonderful, but we're just asking you for a month."
ACCT Philly receives about 100 dogs per week, Barnett said, which means as dogs are leaving — whether through fostering, adoptions or euthanasia — new animals are constantly coming in.
Since last year, animal shelters across the country have dealt with overcrowding. In the Philadelphia region, animal shelters cut adoption fees last summer because they were running out of room, and have continued to offer no fee or $7 fee days to entice new owners.
Some shelters, like ACCT Philly, began euthanizing animals because of the lack of space.
ACCT Philly is located at 111 West Hunting Park Avenue and is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and can be reached at (267) 385-3800. Information about adopting or fostering a dog can be found on their website.