University City

Charlotte’s largest-ever pet adoption event Sept. 18-20

This sweet Boxer mix is available at the Humane Society of Charlotte on Toomey Avenue in Charlotte. Hundreds of other dogs and cats will also be up for adoption at the MEGA 500 Adopt-A-Thon.
This sweet Boxer mix is available at the Humane Society of Charlotte on Toomey Avenue in Charlotte. Hundreds of other dogs and cats will also be up for adoption at the MEGA 500 Adopt-A-Thon. Lisa Thornton

Those looking to add a furry friend to the family may want to head to Metrolina Tradeshow Expo Sept. 18-20, and bring a leash.

The venue will be the site of the area’s first ever MEGA 500 Adopt-A-Thon, an event organizers hope will connect many dogs, cats, kittens and puppies to human parents.

“Our goal is 500 adoptions,” said Jorge Ortega, vice president of operations at the Humane Society of Charlotte, the sponsor of the event.

Around 22 rescue groups and shelters have signed up so far to bring a selection of available pets to the adoption event. They’ll come from counties like Mecklenburg, Stanly, Iredell, Cabarrus and Union, but also from as far away as the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Animals will run the gamut, from full-breeds like boxers and poodles to mixed breeds; from large to small, young to old and fluffy to shorthair.

“Everyone is bringing a little bit of everything,” said Ortega. “I think it’s going to be a skittles of available dogs and available cats – less adult cats and a lot more kittens.”

Ortega said the event is the perfect place for people to take their time and search for the right new family member. They can ask questions, find out the pet’s disposition and needs, and avoid the pitfalls that often come from mistaken love at first sight.

“I know you like the dog with the blue eye, but the dog with the blue eye is going to need a lot of exercise. It’s going to need to be adopted by a family that’s pretty active,” said Ortega. “Does that fit your lifestyle?”

It’s also the perfect opportunity for rescue groups to reach more potential clients.

“We hope this venue will attract people for them that they would have not normally attracted using their current venues,” he said. “When they go to a retail store, the only folks they’re going to attract are those who go to that retail store, so here’s a good central location to attract people from diverse areas.”

Adoption fees and procedures will vary depending on each organization, with most pets available for same-day adoption, and fees ranging from free to $225.

In 2014 the Humane Society of Charlotte began the first year of a five-year partnership with the ASPCA and CMPD Animal Care & Control to reduce its number of euthanized pets.

Since then, the goal – to have 90 percent of its animals leave the shelter alive – has slowly come within reach. By the end of 2014, the organization reported a jump from a 48 percent to a 63 percent live outcome, which equates to around 2,868 dogs and cats finding forever homes by year’s end.

Ortega hopes the MEGA Adopt-A-Thon will help push them to reach their goal. It starts, he said, with spreading the word to more rescue groups from across the region and beyond.

“Ideally, we’d love for this event to continue as an annual adoption event where more organizations are participating because that would just equal a crazy amount of animals finding homes,” he said.

Lisa Thornton is a freelance writer: lisathornton@followmylede.com

Want to go?

MEGA 500 Adopt-a-Thon, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 18-19 and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 20 at Metrolina Tradeshow Expo, 7100 Statesville Road, Charlotte. Free and open to the public. Details: www.mega500charlotte.org.

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