During the past 12 months, the Wake County Animal Center survived a roller coaster ride of stressful animal surges, followed by life-saving outpourings of community support. Despite 8,298 animals coming through the shelter doors, the Animal Center and its partners successfully treated and re-homed 7,005 pets – proving 2022 to be one of the most challenging and rewarding years in the center’s history.
“We are very proud and grateful that we were able to avoid euthanizing for space in 2022,” said Dr. Jennifer Federico, Wake County Animal Services director. “For seven consecutive years, the Wake County Animal Center has avoided this difficult decision and we’re hopeful to continue that record in 2023.”
Four separate, urgent pleas went out to the community in the past year, as the center neared capacity. Each plea was met by a huge response from families wanting to adopt, foster and donate.
- In 2022 4,096 pets were adopted from WCAC
- 186 WCAC foster families cared for 1,491 animals
- 1,791 pets were placed with transfer partners
- 1,118 pets were reunited with their families
- WCAC Veterinarians provided 3,184 spay and neuter surgeries
- 206 volunteers donated 11,726 volunteer hours
This year also brought incredible generosity from the community:
- $16,000 donated during Betty White Challenge
- $5,000 from former volunteer Julie Stolzer to put toward adoption fees during a surge of animals
- $10,000 grant from Fidelity Charitable
- $10,000 donation from Tonya Cama
- Many donations were sent to WCAC from our Amazon Wish List as well as dropped off at the Animal Center
- Over $20,000 total in other donations from individuals
“This was an impressive year for the Wake County Animal Center,” said Shinica Thomas, Chair of the Wake County Board of Commissioners. “Not only did thousands of pets find new homes, but we were able to strengthen our ties with the community and help our most vulnerable families by going throughout the county with our Community Pet Days this fall.”
To expand the center’s community outreach to the vulnerable, staff launched an innovative new program in 2022 called Community Pet Days. Aimed at serving families with limited resources, the first four events reached over 300 families by offering free or low-cost veterinary care, rabies shots, microchipping and additional vaccines, along with resources on how to find affordable pet food and supplies. Numerous organizations and local veterinarians partnered to make the events possible. With the cost of living, groceries, and rent increasing, this program will continue in 2023 to help more animals stay with the families who love them.
To help with the overpopulation issues experienced this winter at the center, the Wake County Animal Control team instituted a program to scan and return pets in the field. In December, 16 pets were returned to their homes. This was made possible by owners having identification on their pets and keeping their microchip information up-to-date. We hope to continue this trend and increase the number of microchipped pets in Wake County in 2023. Each pet adopted from the center goes home with a microchip.
Looking ahead in the new year, the center is working hard to get ahead of the surges by sharing re-homing resources and increased education efforts. Staff are working on new strategies to better handle increasing shelter animal intake in the face of decreasing fosters and transfers to rescue partners. And the team is adding a new Community Outreach Manager to forge new relationships in the community and offer more resources as the county rapidly grows.
Looking back, the leadership and staff of the center know none of the past year’s successes would have been possible without all of the people who support the mission of providing life-saving and life-changing care. They truly make a difference for the animals and residents of Wake County. We know they will continue to help in all the many ways they did in 2022: adopting our pets, fostering, volunteering, donating or just spreading the word about our services. Learn more at wake.gov/pets.