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Salt Lake City — A new Best Friends Pet Adoption Center in Sugar House officially opened Saturday with a “leash-cutting” ceremony.
The event was attended by Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, Salt Lake County Councilman Arlyn Bradshaw, Salt Lake City Councilman Soren Simonsen and Sugar House community liaison Shawn McDonough, and Best Friends CEO Gregory Castle.
The new center, which is part of a trend to take adoptable shelter animals into retail environments, will feature adoptable dogs and cats from Best Friends and local area shelter partners. Castle said the new retail-type location will help bring more adoptable animals directly to the public, especially to people who might not normally visit a shelter. Best Friends had offered animals for adoption at Trolley Square prior to the move to Sugar House.
“We are delighted to open our new center in the hub of one of the most delightful areas of Salt Lake City,” Castle said. “Hopefully, the people who visit the center will feel the love from the animals we feature and help us reduce pet homelessness by giving these animals a forever home of their own.”
From 2000 until 2013, Best Friends has helped save the lives of hundreds of thousands of animals all over the state by providing low-cost and no-cost spay-neuter resources, facilitating adoptions and supporting Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) for community cats.
“To achieve its mission, Salt Lake County Animal Services has entered into collaborative partnerships – including Best Friends – to advance our ‘no-kill shelter’ status,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams. “It’s a great model and Salt Lake County is committed to its success.”
Located at 2005 S. 1100 E. the center will featuring about 60 animals for adoption and provide office space for about 30 Best Friends employees. On a typical day, there will be 20 dogs and 40 cats available for adoption. Facilitating the adoption process will be a cozy “get-acquainted” room where potential adopters can spend time meeting a dog or cat one-on-one. The center also has a retail shop where Best Friends merchandise is for sale.
The center also will be a fountain of information for pet lovers, including resources for free or low-cost spay/neuter services and informational supports for those who care for community cats, including vouchers and trap rentals.
“Since 1999, when we began as No More Homeless Pets in Utah, we’ve been working to end the killing of adoptable animals in Utah shelters,” said Anna Gonce, executive director of the center. “It’s paying off in a big way. In the 13 years since we began, the kill rate in Utah has dropped by 51 percent. Our new center will enable us to take that kill rate even lower.”
Gonce encourages the pet-loving public, especially those planning to add a pet to the family, to stop by the center to see the animals available for adoption.