Innovative DNA Testing Leads To Increase In Dog Adoptions In Hillsborough County
August has been a busy month for the Pet Resource Center, Hillsborough County’s government-operated animal shelter. In the middle of a very hot and humid Florida summer, dog adoption numbers are increasing. Just halfway through August, 184 dogs from the shelter have been fostered, placed into rescue organizations, or adopted. The reason for this success? Doggy DNA testing.
The Pet Resource Center received a $10,000 Big Dog Adoption Grant from the Best Friends Animal Society, allowing the shelter to implement its own DNA testing pilot program to promote large-sized dog adoptions throughout the month of August.
The Pet Resource Center ordered 200 DNA tests with the grant funding to use on adoptable dogs that are 40 pounds and larger. A simple mouth swab and lab analysis is all it takes.
Feedback from the community has been positive, and pet lovers have been logging onto Facebook to guess the breeds of the featured dogs.
Spree, a bright-eyed black and white mixed mutt, caught the attention of the Pet Resource Center’s Facebook page followers.
“Min-pin/Jack Russell,” guessed one pet lover in the comment section of Spree’s photo.
“Lab/terrier,” another opined.
The DNA test results came in to reveal that Spree is…a Chinese shar-pei and American Staffordshire terrier mix! Spree is now with a foster family, but still needs a forever home.
Another Pet Resource Center favorite, Betty, is revealed as a boxer, longhaired dachshund, American Staffordshire terrier, and doberman mix.
One of the first questions many adopters have when visiting the shelter is, “What kind of dog is that?”
DNA testing provides many benefits to both the dogs and pet owners.
Some pet lovers that rent a house or live in an apartment complex must abide by breed restriction rules. Dogs that appear to be a certain breed aren’t always what they seem, and DNA test results provide that clear documentation for pet owners.
Pet owners can also better train and socialize their dog when they know its breed(s). This information can play a large role in the dog’s recommended diet, exercise, living arrangements, and veterinary care.
The DNA test results are helping the Pet Resource Center’s larger dogs get adopted sooner. Adopters now have more information available when they visit the shelter and can easily research the characteristics and behavior of the breeds they see on the dog’s name card.
Hillsborough’s Pet Resource Center is the only animal shelter in the county to implement a DNA testing program, and it hopes to build upon the successes of the first wave of testing.
As the only open-admission shelter in the county, the shelter has made great strides to place pets into loving homes, increasing its live-release rate to nearly 87%.
The facility serves over 1.3 million residents in Hillsborough County and is open daily for adoptions, lost pet searches, low-cost spay/neuter vouchers, and pet license tags.