BY BRUNA PATELLI
Guam Animals in Need currently has roughly 50 animals available for adoption, according to Alison Hadley, shelter direct at GAIN. With approximately half the usual number of adoptions, GAIN is struggling to get the animals into homes.
“There is definitely a drop in adoption rates right now and we are sure that is due to a lot of factors revolving around COVID-19,” Hadley said. “We would usually see anywhere from 60 to 80 adoptions a month and now we are seeing anywhere from 20 to 25 a month.”
Furthermore, she said, “We definitely feel the pressure of that, but we are also very grateful that adoptions are still happening and that our furry friends continue to find homes despite the odds.”
With GAIN being closed to visitors, all adoptable animals are in foster homes. These animals can be viewed on the shelter’s website, and the adoption process would take place by phone.
“As far as receiving animals, we are accepting emergency cases — an animal that is injured, sick, or has bitten someone, that are called in and scheduled with staff,” said Hadley.
HEART Guam is also an animal welfare group on island. Created in 2018 by animal activist Sterling Corbin, HEART stands for Happily Ever After Rescue Team.
Corbin volunteered with GAIN in the past, but said she noticed the need for more help and organizations on the island and decided to help with more innovative projects.
Her overall goals are to open an animal sanctuary, combining botany and animal safety; this would provide a space for animals that don’t usually have a home.
“So it would be an animal botanical sanctuary, including exotic animals that have been neglected,” Corbin said.
She said the idea is to find those animals in need, whether emaciated or injured, for example and bring them in for medical treatment. After that, they can be released onto the property. The property is also planned as an educational botanical sanctuary.
Still in the beginning stages, Corbin said she has to put a proposal together for the company that owns the land she would like in Yigo, but there is a donation pending for another piece of land as well.
In 2020 alone, the new organization placed more than 30 rescued animals in new homes.
HEART is working with foster volunteers, often having drives to collect medical supplies and food donations to help support the foster families.
Currently, HEART has 30 to 50 strays for adoption.
The estimated number of stray animals in Guam is more than 60,000, amounting to one dog for every three people on island. mbj