With more animals in shelters than ever, Victorian animal welfare groups unite for Mission Adoptable, a state-wide initiative to promote pet adoption for animals in need.

Mark Menze, CEO of Animal Aid, said: “When we have more animals coming into our care than being adopted, it makes our work extremely difficult.

“We will continue to help our community by taking lost and abandoned animals, but we need our community to open their hearts and homes and consider bringing one (or two) of our shelter animals into their family.”

Running from 1 to 9 October, Animal Aid, Australian Animal Protection Society, Bendigo Animal Relief Centre, Cat Protection Society, Geelong Animal Welfare Society, Greyhound Adoption Program, Lort Smith Animal Hospital, RSPCA Victoria and Second Chance Animal Rescue will all join forces with the common goal of promoting pet adoption.

Fewer reclaims on lost pets, rising costs and a reduction in adoption applications means there’s increased pressure on animal welfare groups and shelters to keep dogs, cats and a variety of small animals, even when they’ve reached capacity.

Jennifer Donaldson, Manager of Lort Smith Campbellfield, said: “Our world has changed enormously over the last three years and the pandemic has impacted not only humans but our companion animals.”

The animal welfare organisations involved in Mission Adoptable stress the benefits of adopting a pet, including increased physical and psychological health from increased exercise, social connectedness and companionship.

Marisa Debattista, CEO and Founder of Second Chance Animal Rescue said: “There has been an increase in the number of people facing hardship, domestic and family violence or just struggling to keep up with the rising costs of living.

“The need for the services we provide here at SCAR has doubled, and we’re not alone when we say that our shelter is seeing a huge increase in surrender enquiries,” she says. “We are at capacity and animals that would have once found homes in a matter of days, have been in our care now for months.”

For animal lovers not able to commit to caring for a new pet full-time, Mission Adoptable encourages anyone interested to consider foster care, which is also an integral part of caring for vulnerable animals across Victoria.

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