New Pet Adoption Center Is Doing Well Beyond Hopes

July 4, 2010

in Cat Health

A city-owned pet adoption center inside a PetSmart in southwest Fort Worth — considered to be the very first of its sort in the land — is saving the city money, generating business and, what’s more important, setting up hundreds of homeless cats and dogs with new families. Ever since the Fort Worth Adoption Center started out April 25 down South Hulen Street, not one adoptable pet has been put to sleep by the city, stated Brandon Bennett, director of the Code Compliance Department.

Just like in real estate, it’s all about location and staging — as well as being available 7 days a week. “Pet enthusiasts are in the animal store,” Bennett said at the same time petting a passel of dogs inside the center’s play area. “The city shelter is in a distant location, and it is not an inviting atmosphere.

Here, individuals have clean, enjoyable areas where they can interact with the pets.” Launching a similar stand-alone center in such a desirable location would have cost $2 million to $4 million and would not have attracted large walk-in traffic coming from an adjoining pet shop, Bennett said. “This has been so successful, we’re already discussing about starting another center in north Fort Worth. We are getting calls relating to this every day from around the country. Everybody wins, and we haven’t spent one general-fund dollar,” he said. PetSmart and PetSmart Charities are just as satisfied with the relationship.

The store provided the 1,800-square-foot space, and the nonprofit group donated $150,000 to develop the in-house kennel with “visiting rooms,” pet grooming zones and cages for about ten pet dogs and 10 cats. “We realized it is good, but it’s been even better than we believed. We couldn’t be happier,” store supervisor Kristal Tackett said. “Folks come back multiple times to check out the pets. We have had people drive in from 2 hours away.” The facility is a “productive model” for PetSmart Charities along with other communities to take into consideration, said Kim Noetzel, communications manager for the nonprofit group. “There are a lot of people out there who would like to rescue a shelter animal, and perhaps they are discouraged,” Noetzel said. “It may be very difficult and emotional to go into a shelter setting.

“People return multiple times to check out the pets. We have had individuals travel in from 2 hours away.” The facility is a “successful model” for PetSmart Charities and other communities to consider, said Kim Noetzel, communications manager for the nonprofit group. “There are lots of individuals who would like to rescue a shelter pet, and perhaps they are intimidated,” Noetzel said. “It may be very difficult and emotional to travel into a shelter setting. This kind of partnership can make it simpler to visit and not be weighed down or sad. It is a great way to boost adoptions. “It is a nice halo effect for the enterprise, but that is not why we did it — it is for the pets,” she stated.

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