Lawrence Humane Society busy a week after adopting out all available pets

Roommates Anna Pillay, left, and Taylor Wiyninger smile as the peak at the 1-year-old cat Wiyninger adopted Saturday at the Lawrence Humane Society shelter. The two University of Kansas juniors just moved into an apartment that allows pets.

As she prepared Saturday to leave the Lawrence Humane Society shelter, Taylor Wiyninger danced around the rear of her SUV with hands waving in the air.

The reason for Wiyninger’s happy mood was Seanettle, a 1-year-old tiger-striped brown male cat she had just adopted from the shelter. Seanettle proved irresistible when Wiyniger met him in the shelter.

“He was so playful,” she said. “When I held him, he was so sweet.”

Wiyninger, a University of Kansas junior, said she had just moved into a new apartment. With her to help pick out a pet was roommate and fellow KU junior Anna Pillay.

“I’m an animal lover,” Wiyninger said. “We were in a dorm last year and couldn’t have pets.”

The roommates visited the shelter on a busy day, or as one staff member said, “a regular Saturday.”

It was somewhat surprising Wiyninger found Seanettle at the shelter Saturday, said Katy Ibsen, chair of the Lawrence Humane Society board. One week earlier on Aug. 19 during its Clear the Shelter Day, the shelter adopted out 129 animals, clearing its cages of all dogs and cats available for adoption. The assistance of Hill’s Pet Food made it possible for the local shelter to participate in the nationwide event that waives adoption fees charged for such things as vaccinations and spaying or neutering, she said.

“It was very gratifying,” Ibsen said of the Clear the Shelter Day’s success. “My favorite to be adopted was a three-legged cat. It was the last pet adopted for the day.”

It was the second year the shelter participated in Clear the Shelter Day, and staff noticed a new trend, Ibsen said.

“Usually when we make an announcement we’ll be waiving fees, we see adoptions drop off a week prior and week after the event,” she said. “We did not see that this year. We have a very pet-friendly community that is glad to give our animals a forever home.”

Kate Meghji, executive director of the Lawrence Humane Society, said it appeared many people wanting a pet were OK with paying the fees and visited the shelter a week before or after the Clear the Shelter Day to avoid the long lines. Nonetheless, enough people adopted animals during the day to establish a new one-day record for pet adoptions at the shelter, she said.

That’s good because the shelter is experiencing its annual influx of animals. Meghji said the shelter’s busiest months for animal intake are May through September. Some of that was because many apartment leases terminate in May and July, but Meghji said it was also a fact of biology.

“We get a lot of underaged kittens during that time,” she said. “That’s the breeding season for cats. Our dog intake stays steady throughout the year.”

The increase in cats and dogs delivered to the shelter is not because of the city’s college student population, Meghji said.

“That’s a misconception,” she said. “We love it when students adopt because it’s a great way for them to learn responsibility. It’s great for the pets and for the students, who get a furry pet to keep them company when they are studying.”

Staff does counsel all who adopt pets from the shelter on the long-term responsibilities and expense of owning a pet, Meghji said. This year, it also has some financial resources to share with people bringing animals to the pound because they can’t afford pet deposits when renting. The shelter started a pet retention program after receiving a $50,000 grant from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals grant, she said.

“We are trying to work on that end to provide some resources so pet parents can keep pets in the home,” she said.