Graham is a less-than-year-old pit bull puppy, getting ready for what could be the biggest day of his young life. He is preparing for an adoption event, where he might meet his new family.
He has come a long way in his early life. Most of his siblings died of distemper, which he had but recovered from. He is now old enough to leave his foster home and join a family.
“He was one of the strong ones,” said Sara Enos, his foster parent and founder of the American Pit Bull Foundation.
On Saturday, Graham and hundreds of other animals will be up for adoption at the Mega Adopt-a-thon, the last event at the Metrolina Tradeshow Expo. The event hopes to connect families with the perfect pet and to raise awareness of the overcrowding at shelters.
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Thirty-eight percent of all animals brought into Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care and Control were euthanized last year. Nearly half of all cats brought in were put down. Euthanasia is a reality for many shelters without the resources needed to keep all the animals they receive.
Beth Addison, from Partnership for Pets of Charlotte, says that in order to free up space in shelters, most participating agencies will have discounted adoption rates. All of the animals will have been spayed and neutered. Many will also have been socialized and house trained.
This is the adopt-a-thon’s second year. Last year, just under 300 pets were adopted over the three days, and about 2,000 people attended. The organizers hope to repeat their success but have limited the event to just one day.
This year 17 adoption centers, including Animal Care and Control, will participate. Some adoption centers will allow same-day adoption, but it is up to the individual centers’ policies to determine if there will be a waiting period.
The Humane Society of Charlotte’s vice president of operations, Jorge Ortega, said his organization will offer a simple adoption process that will help pair the right pet with the best owner. The animals from that shelter will be same-day adoptions.
Animal Care and Control will have same-day adoption on all animals, and all cats will be free.
The American Pit Bull Foundation has regulations that may prohibit same-day adoptions, but it is prepared to expedite the process as much as possible. Interested adopters can be pre-approved, or there will be volunteers on site to do background and home checks. Potential adopters may be able to leave the same day with their dogs.
Enos said her organization does delay adoption to ensure the right animal finds the right home, and to make sure the owners are aware of the responsibilities of pet owning.
Potential adopters should be aware of the needs of the animals before adopting and not make a spontaneous decision, she said. This includes being aware of the costs and time commitment. To ensure the dog is happily placed, many of the adoption centers will have forums to help in the matching process.
Enos said it is important to match the right dog with the right lifestyle, saying that an active person and a couch potato dog might not have a lot in common.
Metrolina Tradeshow Expo is donating the space and tables. The expo has been open for over half a century but is being sold to an undisclosed buyer.
Parking and admission are free.
“We try to find homes for as many dogs and cats as possible,” said Ortega.
Tyler Fleming: 704-358-5355, @tyler_fleming96
Want to go?
What: An event to connect as many pets with owners as possible, and to raise awareness about animal shelters being overcrowded.
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Metrolina Tradeshow Expo, 7100 Statesville Road.