An animal shelter in Pennsylvania is empty for the first time in nearly 50 years: ‘It is a true miracle’

An animal shelter in Pennsylvania is empty for the first time in nearly 50 years: ‘It is a true miracle’

  • The Adams County SPCA in Pennsylvania said its dog kennels were empty after being almost full.
  • In a Facebook post, the animal shelter said it was a “true miracle” that the kennels were empty.
  • Shelters have been contending with more pets coming in, and falling adoptions.

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It was two days before Christmas, and not a creature was stirring at the Adams County SPCA in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

For the first time in 47 years, the animal shelter’s dog kennels were empty. In fact, there was just one resident: A stray cat who had recently arrived.

“​​Two weeks ago our kennels were almost filled, now we don’t have any dogs in the building at all,” Adams County SPCA wrote in a Facebook post, which was accompanied by a photo of shelter staff proudly displaying the empty halls.

“Our community stepped up once again! This is the first time in 47 YEARS that the Adams County SPCA is empty let alone at Christmas time, it is a true miracle!” the post said. In total, the shelter said they adopted out 598 animals this year, and reunited 125 strays with their families, per the Facebook post.

A ‘crisis’ year for animal shelters

It’s especially heartening news after a difficult year for animal shelters, with many pet owners surrendering their animals. Part of that has been due to soaring inflation — especially as pet food remains expensive, and Americans continue to spend more on pets and pet-related products — leading some Americans to be unable to afford their animals, leaving labor-strapped shelters full to the brim with animals.

Shelter Animal Counts, which tracks data on shelter occupancy, found that dog adoptions were down 1.2% from 2022, and 10% more animals were being taken into shelters than in 2021.

“It’s no secret that animal shelters across the country are in crisis. Nationally, shelters are in their third year of having too many animals and not enough adoptions — especially for dogs,” SAC organization wrote in its third quarter report.

In October, the Animal Care Centers of New York City had to stop taking in dogs after it ran out of room and hit “critical capacity,” with the centers having to move some dogs into office space or cat areas, according to local news outlet ABC7.

Empty shelters like the Adams County SPCA might be a real rarity this holiday season. SAC estimated that there were 245,000 more animals in shelters this holiday season compared to last year.

But some of those animals, if they’re in Pennsylvania, might soon move into roomier digs.

“We will be pulling animals from other shelters in PA next week in hopes of relieving some of their stress,” Adams County SPCA wrote in their Facebook post. “Right now, we are going to enjoy this accomplishment! Merry Christmas!”

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