Clear the Shelters returns: Brightside Animal Center gets new kennels

Kennels have been the biggest change for the shelter during the pandemic

REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) — Mary Ellen Wright, adoptions coordinator for Brightside Animal Center, said one of the biggest changes during the pandemic has been the replacement of outdoor kennels.

She said the kennels they had a year ago were rickety and falling apart. They had tarps and were patched with whatever materials were available at the time, including various wires and cinder blocks.

“They became a danger to us and the dogs,” Wright said. “They would prick themselves, and we would prick ourselves trying to get the dogs out.”

The onset of the pandemic over a year ago became an opportunity to make some changes to the shelter. The first phase was to pour concrete over the uneven gravel. The second phase consisted of installing the new kennels.

“At the height of the pandemic, we had very few dog shortages and adoptions were very high, which was great,” Wright said.

Before the pandemic, in calendar year 2019, there were 361 dog adoptions and 746 cat adoptions. In addition, 351 stray dogs and 19 stray cats were returned to their owners.

So far this year, there have been 184 dog adoptions and 445 cat adoptions, while 155 stray dogs and six stray cats have been returned to their owners.

Wright said she was happy to see the new kennels in use now that there are more animals to adopt.

She said she hasn’t seen an increase in adoptions due to more people staying at home during the pandemic. In fact, she said adoptions appeared to be returning to pre-pandemic levels.

“People are always concerned that there will be a big increase in animals going back to shelters, fewer adoptions, and all that,” Wright said. “Personally, I haven’t seen that.”

NewsChannel 21 is participating in Clear the Shelters, a national effort to find loving homes for animals in need.

For more details on how to adopt during the Clear the Shelters campaign, visit the Clear the Shelters webpage.

Benjamin M. Yerger