by Aaron Burns

Trey Nodine works with animals.

As an officer with the Cornelius Animal Shelter, Nodine said he’s seen many cats and dogs leave the shelter and join families. The challenge is to continue that trend.

The number of animals brought into local shelters doesn’t usually rise in the fall and winter months, but the amount of adoptions has increased.

“From what I’ve seen, in the fall and winter when kids get back to school, families are more likely to adopt a pet,” Nodine said.

As for animals being brought to a shelter?

“Typically we see more of an influx during the summer months for that,” Nodine said. “It’s usually adult cats and dogs because there’s more of a lack of spaying and neutering with them.”

Nodine said Cornelius’ shelter, which holds 52 animals at full capacity, was at 35 on Sept. 18. The shelter is making a concerted effort to ensure their animals get adopted.

Fifth-Third Bank off West Catawba Avenue in Cornelius hosts its Customer Appreciation Day on Sept. 29. Nodine said animals from the shelter will be there to be adopted.

The shelter will also host a dog show on Oct. 6 at Bailey Road Park. Nodine said the shelter’s animals are more likely to get adopted if they’re seen in public, simply because more people are made aware of them.

“Events remind everybody that there’s a shelter around,” he said.

Buying a cat at the shelter costs $85. Dogs cost $95. Both prices include spaying and neutering. Nodine said the shelter will have 12 animals adopted some weeks, but only one or two in others. He hopes the upcoming events will provide a longer-term increase in adoptions.

Most shelters are pro-active in getting their pets adopted.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reported approximately five million to seven million animals entering shelters annually nationwide. Three to four million (60 percent of dogs, 70 percent of cats) are euthanized.

Fortunately, the Lincoln County Animal Services, which serves the Denver area, has seen a rise in adoptions. Manager David Workman said the shelter euthanized 2,429 animals last year, but that number is expected to drop significantly this year.

“We’re working diligently to (promote adoption),” Workman said. “We’ve got some outreach programs we’re doing.”

Lincoln County’s shelter holds an Adoption Fair every Saturday at Petco off Biddick Lane in Huntersville.

The Iredell County Animal Control Center in Statesville also sees a constant flow of animals brought in the fall and winter months. The shelter euthanized 4,428 animals last year. Numbers for Cornelius’ euthanized animals last year were unavailable.

Iredell shelter Administrative Specialist Kathy Weatherman said the shelter population “seems to stay fairly steady (year-round), but our adoptions are doing really good.”

In August, Iredell’s shelter began spaying and neutering pets prior to adoption. Weatherman said the new approach has worked wonders for getting more pets adopted.

“People seemed to like that we took care of the spaying and neutering ahead of time,” Weatherman said. “We didn’t expect it to be so well-received. We’re pleasantly surprised, but people like not having to deal with going to a veterinarian for the (procedures).”

Iredell County’s shelter also offers spaying and neutering at a reduced cost.

“We just want to get people out as much as possible to see (the animals),” Weatherman said.

The shelter holds space for roughly 90 dogs and 90 cats.

Petfinder.com is another method of finding the right pet to adopt. The website lists more 365,000 pets based on animal and breed. More than 13,900 animal welfare organizations use the site, including LegUpRescue in Davidson.

The website’s search function ranks the available pets closest to the person’s zip code. The hope of Nodine and other animal officers and shelter managers is to highlight the animals.

“Hopefully, we’ll get some adoptions out of them when we have events,” he said.

Want to adopt a pet?

• Cornelius Animal Shelter: 19110 Meridian St., Cornelius. 704-237-3602

• Iredell County Animal Control: 430 Bristol Drive, Statesville. 704-878-5424

• Lincoln County Animal Services: 650 John Howell Memorial Drive, Lincolnton. 704-736-8734

• Great Dane Rescue: 10425 Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road, Huntersville. 704-697-9706

You can also visit www.petfinder.com for a complete list of shelter and rescue groups.