Animals staying in shelters longer, staffing shortages and lack of access to veterinary care have driven animal shelters and rescue organizations to find new ways to move animals out of the shelter and into homes prior to spaying/neutering. That’s why starting in July 2023, PetSmart Charities is waiving the requirement for puppies and kittens (under 6 months) to be altered prior to participating in in-store adoption events or being housed in PetSmart Adoption Centers. This spay/neuter waiver will be piloted through the end of calendar year 2023.
PetSmart Charities Adoption partners will be responsible for ensuring post adoption sterilization in accordance with applicable local, state, and provincial laws.
“While shelter intake remains lower than 2019 levels, shelters and animal welfare organizations are consistently at or over their capacity as animals are staying longer before getting adopted,” said Rory Adams, Sr. Manager of Adoption Initiatives at PetSmart Charities. “Compounding this challenge is the overwhelming lack of access to veterinarians across shelters and animal welfare organizations, resulting in a backlog of spay/neuter surgeries.”
Adams shares that the forward-thinking decision to remove this barrier to adoption and send pets home faster reduces the risk of contagious disease, behavioral issues and stress due to confinement and the lack of connection to pets and people.
Post-adoption spay/neuter programs are already being implemented in a variety of ways, including:
- Foster to Adopt Programs
- Scheduling spay/neuter appointment in the future and pet parents bring animals into shelter clinic for surgery
- Spay/neuter voucher that allows pet parent to schedule surgery on their own, as part of the adoption requirements
- Adoption contracts requiring pet parents to provide proof of sterilization within a designated timeframe
“By lifting this requirement, we’re confident others in the animal welfare space will push past how things have historically operated. A post-pandemic world calls for change and innovation,” said Adams. “We have an opportunity to continue to be more connected, to support one another, and to seek out these solutions together. This change is also a call to action. It’s a stellar opportunity to work together and to build bridges between PetSmart Charities and our non-profit shelter and rescue partners and municipal shelters.”
See the full details of the announcement and initiative.