MICHIGAN CITY – In its fifth year participating in the national Clear the Shelters initiative, the Michiana Humane Society saw a record number of visitors and adoption applications on Saturday.

More than 330 people came to see if one of the animals there might be a good fit for their home. And at the end of the day, more than 80 had submitted applications to take home a new pet.

“We took 25 applications in the first hour of the event,” said executive director Johanna Humbert. “I don’t think we’ve ever received that many in the first hour.”

At the start of the day Saturday, the shelter had approximately 90 animals available for adoption – 15 dogs; three rabbits; and the rest, cats and kittens.

“This time of year, shelters are bursting at the seams,” Humbert said. “It’s kitten season, so everybody has a million cats. We have been turning cats away every day for at least a month because we don’t have a cage to put them into.”

By mid-day Tuesday, 19 animals had been sent to their new forever homes, and the shelter continued processing applications and lining up adoptions. As that process is completed, more cage space becomes available and the shelter can begin accepting animals that are currently on a wait list.

“We just want to make sure the personality of the animal matches the personality of the family,” said Brianne Markos, social media and rescue coordinator at the shelter. “That way, both sides are set up for success and, hopefully, can spend their lives together.”

The West family came from La Porte to visit the cats, and submitted an application to adopt little Hillary.

Tim West said they have two rescue cats at home; but the one belonging to his daughter, 17-year-old Vanessa, passed away recently, and they were looking to bring home a new baby.

“I feel like it’s important to adopt a pet because – not that the conditions are bad here, but it’s a little bit crowded, and I feel like some of them are overlooked,” Vanessa said. “So, I just want to take one into our home.”

Sophie Zettle and Alex Rice, both from Portage, came to the shelter to meet the dogs and see if one might be a fit for their family.

“We’re adopting because there’s a lot of dogs out there that don’t have any homes; and since we have the space and the capability, we might as well give them one,” Zettle said.

“I always look to save dogs first, instead of going to a breeder or puppy farm, because there are too many dogs without homes that deserve them,” Rice said.

As a part of the Clear the Shelters initiative, all approved adoptions were provided free of charge. But Humbert clarified that just as with any animal adopted from the shelter on any day of the year, all are spayed or neutered and vaccinated.

Shelter volunteer Carl Anderson, who works with cats three days each week, said it’s important the families who adopt continue to provide love, protection and regular health screenings to keep the animals happy and healthy.

Pat Bailey, who has volunteered with the shelter dogs for the past two years, said she enjoys the Clear the Shelters event because she knows it means animals will be sent to deserving homes.

MHS provides updated information of animals that remain available for adoption on its website at michianahumanesociety.org and on its Facebook page.

For more information, call (219) 872-4499 or email contact@michianahumanesociety.org

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