4 min read

Happiest Shelter Photo Shows No Dogs At All

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has a nugget of simple advice for animal shelters: Post photos of your empty cages for lots of likes.

The idea, published as part of the organization's weekly list of "pro tips," is that those likes translate into more exposure for shelters and the animals who call them home. And that exposure spells more happy endings.

Because everyone loves good news, right?

Such was the case in this photo shared by the Kansas City, Missouri, shelter and rescue, KC Pet Project.

The picture, taken in the wake of a giant dog adoption event, shows countless empty cages. In all, 166 animals were adopted last October.

And nearly 7,000 Facebook likes.

It's not the only mass vacancy that's getting attention. A video posted by the Kentucky Humane Society the same month was also singled out by the ASPCA for its singular dedication to keeping kennels empty.

Facebook / Kentucky Humane Society

The video was viewed nearly 200,000 times.

Not every shelter is so lucky, of course. According to the ASPCA, about 3.9 million dogs enter shelters every year. Many, despite valiant efforts, remain overburdened with admissions. Like this bustling outpost of compassion in Fayette, West Virginia, where staff are trying everything not to euthanize animals - despite having run out of space.

The shelter is taking in more animals than it's adopting, creating a painful backlog for its animals. As a result, some dogs are being kept in outdoor kennels overnight. And in spite of efforts to keep them warm - adding straw to the cages and boarding up the sides - the situation, according to shelter staff, has reached a critical point.

"They come in faster than we can get them out," Beth Powers, a board member at Fayette County Animal Shelter, told WVVA.com. "We really try with rescues, fosters and adoptions to get as many out as possible, but sometimes that's just not the case.

"We're desperately trying to have to not euthanize for space."

Maybe we can all help. If you're interested in giving one of these dogs a home, please visit the Facebook page for Fayette County Animal Control Center.

Let's empty those cages.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misidentified the Fayette County animal as being located in Georgia. It is in fact in West Virginia.

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