The Use of Social Media in Animal Shelters

May 3, 2018
By Matcha25 BRONZE, Rancho Palos Verdes, California
Matcha25 BRONZE, Rancho Palos Verdes, California
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Imagine being locked up even though you did nothing wrong, spending your life in a cage, possibly facing death just to make room for someone else.  Now imagine that the only way out of the situation is for some loving person to come and choose you to be in their family. The only problem is that this person doesn’t know that you exist.  This is what shelter animals are facing every day. Although pets are being adopted from shelters, most shelters still have too many animals that are not being adopted because of reasons such as a lack in communication to the community through social media, which is currently a popular way of promoting a company, and a way that could be used to promote shelter animals. 

Many shelters today are filled to the brim with homeless animals and are sometimes even forced to euthanize animals to prevent overcrowding.  About 6.5 million animals are added to U.S. shelters each year and this overcrowding leads to 1.5 million animals being euthanized.   The number of shelter animals being euthanized has decreased in recent years, but 1.5 million is still way more than it should be.  This is over a million innocent lives being taken away because of the simple reason of lack in shelter space.  These are animals that should be given the opportunity to live a good life with a family.  These are animals that deserve to grow old and live long happy lives.  These animals shouldn’t be forgotten, all alone, and even killed in a shelter.  Too many dogs and cats are stuck in shelters waiting for someone to come and adopt them. Although this isn't a problem that can be solved overnight, it is possible to speed up the process of getting animals adopted.   Overcrowding in shelters can be reduced if shelters start to participate in promoting methods that other businesses around the world are now benefiting from. 

Social Media is one of the fastest ways of communication today and is used by businesses around the world to promote their companies.  According to Common Sense Media, a non-profit family technology education organization, many people today, especially teenagers, spend an average of nine hours a day on social media sites such as Instagram or Facebook.   Although this may not be the healthiest thing to be doing, this allows people to stay connected to others around the world.  This includes local businesses that can communicate to the community about their products. By means of advertisements or official company accounts, larger businesses are also able to take advantage of this and promote their products directly to their customers.  If done correctly, social media can also help animal shelters. As probably the fastest way of communication today, social media can help to quickly find homes for animals in need.

Animal shelters can utilize social media to promote their animals and increase the amount of adoptions.  Every day, people all around the world look at the same viral photos and videos. One of the most popular things to view on social media right now is cute animal posts.  Thousands of people follow accounts that post silly animal videos or adorable puppies and kittens. If animal shelters were to start posting more cute and funny photos of their animals, they have the potential to find many loving homes.  In fact, according to Claire Garth of the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home, promoting animals from shelters on social media has already contributed in reducing the average number of days animals spend in some shelters to about only ten.   If only this promoting method becomes more widely used in American shelters, it could make animals get adopted way faster.  A ten-day average of shelter time should be made a goal for America’s shelters. When the lives and welfare of so many animals are at stake, people who are in charge of these shelters have a moral responsibility to try their best to help in this problem.  Simple actions such as using social media are a great way to start.

The use of social media to promote animals in shelters is a great way to increase the amount of adoptions without a big cost to the company.  Creating an account is free and shelters can simply use existing shelter volunteers to take photos of the animals to post. Shelters that already have programs allowing people to volunteer to play with the animals or walk them can encourage people to post any cute photos of the animals on the account.  This way, it would also be easier for the shelter to continue with the use of the account. It would mean less work for the employees, and it would mean an actual photographer wouldn’t have to be hired. Although this is not a complete solution to the problem of overpopulated shelters, utilizing social media could contribute greatly in a low-cost, easy, and faster way of finding forever homes for many animals.

The author's comments:

I hope that this piece will inspire more animal shelters to start social media pages.  I believe that this will help in the problem of overcrowded shelters.

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