PORT CHARLOTTE— More than 50 dogs at the Animal Welfare League of Charlotte County found their forever homes this week.

Fifty-three dogs arrived at AWL Monday from a busted puppy mill in Tampa. By Wednesday, all of them were adopted.

However, once all the excitement settled down, and staff returned to their regular schedules, several animals still wait for homes.

Bessie, a 7-year-old American bulldog has been adopted and returned twice. The first time was for an unknown reason, and the second was because her owner said she was too strong for her to be able to walk her. Staff said she would do well in a home where she’s the only dog, as she doesn’t get along well with other animals. She is also heart-worm positive.

Jed, a 1-year-old Rottweiler/hound mix was also adopted and returned, after only being given a few days to adapt to a new home, staff said.

Jed would do well in a house with a yard, because he is very energetic.

James Carrano, Kennel Tech at AWL gave a few tips for integrating a new animal into your home:

Give them a month to adjust.

Crate the dog when you take it home, and when you leave the house.

Have patience. Don’t expect a new dog to be like your old dog.

If you already have a dog, bring them to the shelter for a meet-and-greet, before bringing another animal home.

Executive Director of AWL Karen Slomba said there is no time limit on how long dogs and cats can stay at the shelter.

Occasionally, they will transfer animals out to other rescues or shelters, but it is not a regular practice, Slomba said.

“We never put animals to sleep unless they are truly suffering or are dangerous to the public,” she said.

This was not always the case. When Slomba joined AWL as the director in August of 2018, the live release rate was 72%, she said.

The live release rate is the percentage of animals that arrive at the shelter that have a live outcome, whether it be adoption, transfer to rescue or trap-neuter-release, if it’s a feral cat.

Under her direction, in October, their live release rate was 98%.

The 2% were animals that were terminally ill or suffering, Slomba said.

The adoption fee for adult dogs weighing 25 pounds or more aged 6 months and older is $130. The fee for senior dogs 7-years-old and up is $65. Currently the shelter is running a “change their fortune” special, and you can earn $10 or $20 off the adoption fee, half off, or a waived adoption fee.

AWL is located at 3519 Drance St. in Port Charlotte. For more information, call 941-625-6720.

Email: brianna.kwasnik@yoursun.com

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