FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Cumberland County animal shelter plans to stay ahead of the curve by opening up their facility for appointment-based adoptions on Monday.
Since the start of this pandemic, the shelter's seen major drop in its total capacity, seeing plenty of empty cages these last few months.
A sight that Elaine Smith, the Animal Control Director, saw as a minor silver lining during these life-altering months.
"This time of year, we're normally full to the brim with dogs, cats, puppies, and especially kittens," Smith said.
The shelter hasn't euthanized a pet for spacing since March. Their pet population, at one point, sat just over 20, ten times less than the previous April.
"We are starting to creep back up on our numbers. We are at about half capacity right now, which is good, but it's still a significant amount of animals," Smith added.
As the state begins to slowly open back up, Smith fears people who chose to adopt will have second thoughts, meaning their intake of dogs and cats will spike.
This, along with the easing of restrictions, is allowing the animal shelter to start offering adoptions next week.
According to a county release, the staff will be wearing masks and observing social distance protocol, asking interested parties to adhere to the same rules.
On top of keeping their shelter euthanasia free, the pandemic has taught the staff to approach those thinking about returning their pets differently.
"We're going to do a lot more, in the future, and change some policies in the future to really work on helping people keep their pets in their home and not having them come in here at all," Smith.
If they can convince more people to hold on to their furry friends, then, they can assure these kennels stay open and ready for stray pets and animals who would normally be in line to be euthanized.
Pet adoption fees are $28 through the end of July, thanks to a grant from PetSmart Charities.
The hours will be Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
If you would like to schedule an appointment, you can call: (910) 321-6852.