Leaders of a popular Lake Norman-area animal rescue organization say they are searching for a new place to hold pet adoption events, and they worry that hundreds of local abandoned dogs and cats could go unadopted after a retailer decided to cut ties with the nonprofit group.
Since 2009, Cornelius-based Catering to Cats & Dogs, which goes by the acronym C2CND, has made the Petco store in Huntersville its base of operations for adoptions of ownerless pets in the Lake Norman area. C2CND says it placed 689 animals in homes in 2014, and has found owners for 501 so far this year.
But the organization’s leaders said they were informed by Petco last week that the Humane Society of Charlotte would now be the primary pet adoption agency at the Huntersville location and that C2CND would no longer be allowed to use that store.
Petco also informed the Lincoln County Animal Shelter that its opportunities to use the Huntersville store for adoptions was being reduced from as many as four days per month to one weekend day per month.
C2CND founder and president Donna Weaver said she worries that HSC will now bring abandoned pets from Charlotte for adoption in the Lake Norman area, while hundreds of dogs and cats are already without permanent homes here.
“We fear this will devastate the animal rescue efforts for the needy animals (that C2CND volunteers) take into their foster and adoption program annually from Lake Norman and smaller surrounding communities,” she said.
Petco issued a statement saying that C2CND did not have the staff to support a full-time adoption center being planned for the store.
“Petco and the Petco Foundation partner with local animal and welfare groups across the country to help to save the lives of more than 400,000 homeless animals every year,” said David Hallisey, vice president of communications at Petco. “More than a year ago, after consulting with Catering to Cats & Dogs, who informed us that they did not have the staff to support the full-time adoption center being built in our Huntersville store, we selected the Humane Society of Charlotte as our partner.
“This decision was also influenced by our confidence in the Humane Society of Charlotte's commitment to saving animal lives in the community through adoption. C2CND has been a wonderful adoption partner, and because of our positive relationship and mutual goals, we offered the organization the opportunity to hold adoption events at either of two additional Petco stores in the area (Mooresville and Cornelius). Unfortunately, C2CND declined our offer.”
Weaver said she was surprised when Petco representatives told her that C2CND’s regular Saturday adoption events were a disruption to Petco customers.
“Had we been informed that our placing animals in ‘forever homes’ was having a negative impact on Petco shoppers, we would gladly and immediately have taken measures to address any concerns,” she said.
Weaver said few retail outlets would offer the same access to the pet-friendly clientele that Petco does, and that C2CND refuses to bump any smaller adoption organizations – many of which C2CND supports financially – from their bases of operations in stores or other locations. That decision is forcing C2CND to look for alternatives.
“C2CND is in the early stages of seeking an affordable, efficient building in the local Lake Norman area to serve as (its) adoption center,” the organization said in a news release this week. “This new building would also serve the community in other ways, such as an education facility for animal welfare, promoting spay-neuter and encompassing efforts for (trap-neuter-return) programs, and even potentially hosting low-cost vaccine clinics.”
C2CND added that it is “putting out feelers” to potential donors about funding the project.
“We want to thank Petco Huntersville for all they have done for us and the foster animals from our community over the years,” Weaver said. “Although we are aware they have entered into a ... contract with HSC, if for any reason that does not work out, we would consider working with them again.”
John Deem is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit http://c2cnd.org/ for information on volunteer and fostering opportunities and to see animals Catering to Cats & Dogs has available for adoption.