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For the first time in nearly 50 years, Pennsylvania animal shelter is empty – NBC Chicago

There are no barks or meows coming from a Pennsylvania animal shelter this holiday week thanks to what he calls “a real miracle.”

For the first time in 47 years, the Adams County SPCA’s kennels are empty because all of its animals have been adopted and strays have been reunited with their families, the organization shared in a Facebook post.

The kennels were almost full two weeks ago, but now there are no dogs left and only one stray cat, according to the animal shelter.

The Adams County SPCA shared a happy photo of its employees smiling in a hallway filled with empty kennels.

“This is the first time in 47 YEARS that the Adams County SPCA has been empty, let alone at Christmas time, it’s a true miracle!” »wrote the organization. “To say we are beyond excited is an understatement! The staff and volunteers have worked VERY hard to take care of the animals in our care and ensure they are adopted to the right home!”

Tonya Hays, kennel technician for the Adams County SPCA, told TODAY.com the organization has moved between 15 and 20 animals, either as adoptions or as strays returned to owners over the past two weeks to empty the kennels.

“We had to get them all spayed and neutered, vaccinated and tested for heartworms and tick-borne diseases, while processing numerous (adoption) applications. So the staff worked really hard,” says Hays. “It was pretty cool. It was quite an achievement.

The Adams County SPCA has adopted out 94 animals and returned 26 strays to their owners since Nov. 1 and none of them have been returned, officials told TODAY.com.

Shelter officials wrote on Facebook that the organization adopted 598 animals this year and reunited 120 animals with their owners. He’s now working to help other Pennsylvania shelters that are full.

While it may seem like the holiday spirit has motivated more adoptions to help empty shelters, Hays said they are actually discouraging people from giving pets as gifts due to the commitment of several years that this requires.

Many owners who adopted pets from the shelter responded in the comments with photos of their adorable dogs and felines.

The organization also shared “happy tails” on Facebook sent by owners who recently adopted pets from the shelter, including an adorable cat named Bootsie.

“All our children love him, but he has been a game changer for my four-year-old autistic daughter,” the owner wrote to the SPCA. “Hope cuddles Bootsie when she’s upset, instead of completely breaking down, she cuddles him and practices her verbal expressions of compassion, love and affection. Thank you so much for all you do!”

The Adams County SPCA wrote in a follow-up Facebook post on Dec. 26 that it had “received an overwhelming response” from shelters across the country, in Canada and Mexico, as well as members of the public, asking them to welcome animals. to shelter.

“Even though our hearts break for them and the situation they find themselves in, we must first help the members of OUR community,” the organization wrote.

The shelter only accepts animals surrendered by residents of the county as well as surrounding counties and “overwhelmed shelters” in Pennsylvania.

“We will do our best to help as many animals and people as possible,” the Adams County SPCA wrote.

The ASPCA estimates that 6.3 million animals enter shelters each year, almost evenly split between cats and dogs, and about 4.1 million of them are adopted each year. About 920,000 shelter animals are euthanized each year, the majority of them cats, according to the ASPCA.

This story first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY:

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