Bangor animal shelter gearing up to adopt out first wave of southern ‘transfer dogs’
BANGOR, Maine (BDN) -- Thinking about adopting a dog? If so, the Bangor Humane Society has an offer for you.
On Tuesday, the humane society will have nearly 20 puppies and adult dogs — ranging from small to medium in size and in a variety of mixed breeds — available for adoption at noon.
The dogs, which arrived in Maine on June 13, were rescued from the Southern Pines Animal Shelter in Mississippi, where, while adoptable, they were at high risk of being euthanized due to overcrowding, according to Stacey Coventry, Bangor Humane Society’s director of development and public relations.
They are the first wave of at-risk dogs coming to Bangor as the result of a collaboration with the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society in Lewiston, which successfully has been bringing dogs to Maine for a few years, Southern Pines and the ASPCA, Coventry said.
The partnership will help bring nearly 200 dogs from Mississippi to Maine for adoption each month.
Southern Pines Animal Shelter works diligently to pull adoptable puppies and dogs who are at a high risk for euthanasia out of crowded Mississippi shelters, where overpopulation places a huge burden on their shelter resources.
As part of its role in the program, the ASPCA vaccinates the dogs, conducts health screenings and twice a month drives them in a large specially equipped transport vehicle to Rochester, New York, where participating shelters in the northeast meet them and then transfer the dogs to their local shelters.
Because state law requires that all dogs imported from out of state be quarantined for two to five days before being placed in new homes, the puppies that arrived in Bangor last week temporarily were placed in Bangor-area foster homes while the adult transfer dogs have been quarantined in the humane society’s shelter on Mount Hope Avenue.
“We regularly partner with other shelters to bring dogs into BHS, whether it be swapping or transferring in when we have space to help more dogs find homes,” said Suzan Prendergast, executive director for the Bangor nonprofit.
“The reality is that we’ve seen a 50 percent decrease in the amount of animals in our shelter in less than a decade. That number is mind blowing,” she said. “Puppies, small breed and healthy, well-socialized young adult dogs are adopted very quickly in our region.”
Because the transfer dogs arrive healthy and not in need, without behavioral problems requiring added work or supportive care, their adoption fees will help pay for the other animals at the shelter that need more rehabilitation before going up for adoption, she said.
“Really it’s a win-win — we help dogs that wouldn’t otherwise go up for adoption, and they help us provide medical and behavioral care to dogs in Maine that need it most,” she said.
Coventry said that all transfer dogs will be vaccinated, spayed or neutered and microchipped and their behavior evaluated before they go home with their new families. Photos of the dogs will be available on the Bangor Humane Society’s Facebook page in time for adoption day on Tuesday.
Potential adopters are encouraged to arrive at the shelter as early as 9 a.m. They will receive a pre-adoption application and a number that holds their place in line.
The numbers will be called beginning at noon, Coventry said. Potential adopters must be present when their number is called in order for their place in line to be honored. That does not, however, guarantee an adoption, as the humane society will vet applicants as it does with any other adoptions.
Adoption fees for puppies up to 6 months are $350 and vary based on age for dogs 7 months or older. Adoption policies and fees can be seen on the humane society’s website at bangorhumane.org.
Moving forward, the society expects to being 60 to 80 transfer dogs to Bangor each month.
The transfer effort will require additional resources, so the shelter is asking the community to help. Needed are blankets, newspapers and dog toys, foster homes for puppies and volunteers to ready the shelter and van before transports, unload upon return and help with customer service on adoption days.