City of Fort Worth, TX

11/29/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/29/2023 06:24

Fort Worth’s freedom ride for furry friends

Fort Worth's freedom ride for furry friends

Published on November 29, 2023

Just call it the bark bus. Though not the official name, it's a badge befitting vehicles that carry canines from Cowtown to locales across the country.

A massive influx of surrendered animals, coupled with a smaller pool of potential adopters post-COVID, has shelters nationwide overcrowded and struggling to keep pace - and get their resident animals out alive.

To help combat this crisis, many shelters are seeking novel ways to clear cages and save lives. The Fort Worth Animal Shelter is one of them.

Bye-bye, Texas. Hello, home

Fort Worth's transport program drives dogs from the City facility to shelters and rescues in other parts of the U.S. with the space and resources to rehome them.

"We do monthly trips to the Pacific Northwest and to New England with dogs from our shelter," said Brittany Parker, senior code compliance officer - outbound.

It's a simple case of supply and demand.

Volunteers relocate pets from Fort Worth to areas where overpopulation isn't an issue and the desire for adoptable animals is high.

"We sent out 34 dogs on transport to Oregon on Nov. 13. Nine of those dogs came off of the Code Red list, so this is truly a lifesaving effort for these pups," Parker said.

Fifty-nine dogs headed to Connecticut, Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire the following week.

Ticket to ride

All of the transport dogs must be in foster homes for at least two weeks prior to leaving to ensure they stay healthy enough to pass their interstate health certificate exam, Parker explained.

The fosters are provided all necessary supplies, including food and toys, for the duration of the stay.

Fostering doesn't only help the dogs who are scheduled to ship out, Parker emphasized: "When these pups go into foster homes, that opens up kennels for incoming dogs at the shelter. And that saves even more lives."

It takes a village to save a life

After the fosters provide a temporary address and TLC, the transport partners are the next critical link in this lifesaving chain.

"Our transport partners are other shelters or rescue groups out of state that are able to take our dogs because they don't experience the high volume of animal overpopulation that we do here in the South," Parker explained.

That said, today's overpopulation epidemic is also affecting the transport partners. "They're experiencing a rare uptick in intakes, making it very difficult for them to help pull animals from our shelter now like they have in the past," Parker said.

But that doesn't deter their efforts one iota.

"It is vital to maintain close relationships with our transport partners, and we work really hard to develop new relationships with out-of-state partners," Parker said. "We're able to continue with our transport program because of our outreach efforts."

Learn more: Find information on the Fort Worth Animal Shelter's transport program, including how to become a foster.

Photos:Happy tails: Dedicated volunteers fetch dogs from the Fort Worth shelter and ferry them to freedom and a family of their own.

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