The city/county animal shelter is reinstating its Saturday hours, which have been suspended for six months during a staffing shortage.
Beginning Oct. 1, Greenfield-Hancock Animal Management, 809 S. State St., will have adoption hours on the first and third Saturdays of the month. In February, Mayor Chuck Fewell temporarily suspended the shelter’s weekend hours after the former director and another employee quit, leaving the shelter short-staffed.
Now, new director Amanda Dehoney is preparing to bring back the weekend hours, citing a need for better accessibility for families wanting to adopt pets.
The weekend schedule historically gave people who work regular business hours during the week a chance to visit the shelter, which closes weekdays at 4 p.m. Dehoney also hopes the weekend hours will help the shelter reunite lost pets with their families. For some residents, it’s hard to get to the shelter during office hours, which end at 4 p.m., when many might still be working.
Office manager Debbie Harris said the shelter has been participating in offsite pet-friendly events to encourage adoptions since Dehoney took the helm, but as cooler weather approaches, those events taper off. Offering Saturday hours will enable the shelter to reach residents who can’t visit during the week and hopefully fill that gap, she said.
The department is now fully staffed with six employees, making it easier to schedule some workers for weekend shifts, officials said.
Dehoney, who was appointed to the position in April after working with Indianapolis Animal Care and Control, said the shelter will start by offering hours on the first and third Saturdays of the month, but that availability could change depending on demand and the number of weekend visitors. If Saturday is a popular day for adoptions, she might consider adding to those hours.
Adoption hours on Saturday will likely be in the morning, as they were before, but department officials are still ironing out the schedule.
The shelter’s Monday through Friday hours will remain the same: the kennel is open from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for visitors wanting to see the animals, and the office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., like other city offices.
The department doesn’t track adoptions by date, but Harris said she doesn’t believe canceling Saturday hours resulted in fewer pets finding homes, as many adoptions are finalized at the start of the week after families complete a three-day foster-to-adopt program over the weekend.
But weekend hours will give more families a chance to come in and look at adoptable pets, which is a good thing, Dehoney said.
“Hopefully this will make us more accessible and boost adoptions,” she said.