VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — People in the Pacific Northwest who adopt pets are very responsible, said Sam Ellingson with the Humane Society of Southwest Washington. The pet adopters know to spay and neuter their pets to help control the pet population.

One of the popular pet adoption sites, PetFinder.com, will actually bring your adopted animal up to the PNW from areas of the country like Louisiana and Texas.

“Obviously, we’re saving lives with programs like this, but it’s also really good for our families in the community where we’re giving these families an opportunity to find this happy healthy dog or cat or puppy or kitten or whatever it might be and give them a new home, give them an opportunity to to meet their perfect match,” Ellingson told KOIN 6 News.

Supporting local shelters allows animals to stay safe and healthy while they wait for their new home. Statistics from the National Database of Sheltered Animals showed a decline in dogs and cats entering shelters nationwide. From 2019 to 2021, 21% fewer dogs and 12% fewer cats entered shelters.

But that same database shows the Pacific region — Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska — took in 16% of the nation’s population of shelter animals. Other regions of the country, where it’s warmer and more strays are born, shelters are overflowing with pets.

On May 7, the Humane Society of Southwest Washington is hosting their 31st annual Walk/Run for the animals.

Humane Society of Southwest Washington Walk/Run for the Animals

“We know there’s a huge demand for adoptions in the Pacific Northwest. But we also know because of how we manage spay and neuter programs in the Pacific Northwest, there’s not a great supply,” Ellingson said. “And so that relationship allows us to bring these animals out of places where they are crowded, they are overwhelmed and find those new homes.”