It's a great time to adopt a dog or cat from a Jersey Shore animal shelter. Here's why (2024)

If you're looking for a sign to adopt that pet you've been wanting, this is it. National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, which is Tuesday, April 30, encourages rescuing pets from licensed shelters.

With around 6.3 million pets entering government-approved shelters every year, these nonprofit organizations are plagued with overcrowding, and struggle to obtain enough resources, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The New Jersey Department of Health recommends participating in the holiday, if you're ready to bring a new companion into your home.

“Adopt a Shelter Pet Day is a great reminder to residents that many loving animals of all ages are available at their local shelters and pounds, and in need of a good home,” said former health commissioner Judith Persichilli in a 2023 release. “There are many health benefits of pet ownership, including regular exercise, and pets also provide companionship.”

The release also states that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studies have shown the bond between people and pets is linked to other benefits, such as improved heart health, decreased stress, loneliness and anxiety — as well as increased opportunities for exercise and being outdoors.

These local shelters have cats and dogs that would love to come home with you. Some of them are also hosting special events.

Ocean County Animal Facilities (North and South)

It's a great time to adopt a dog or cat from a Jersey Shore animal shelter. Here's why (2)

Both the Northern Ocean County Animal Facility in Jackson, and the Southern Ocean County Animal Facility in Manahawkin, will be hosting events on April 30.

From 1 to 4 p.m., both locations will be offering half price adoptions, and every adopted animal goes home with a goodie bag full of toys and treats. The adoption fee for dogs during the celebration is $30; for cats and kittens it's $27.50.

All animals are spayed/neutered, microchipped, up to date on age appropriate vaccinations, and have received a general health exam by the shelter veterinarian.

One pet you can find at the Southern facility is Oreo, a 1 year-old Boxer-mix who is good with kids, enjoys car rides, and is "incredibly friendly." He does better in a home without other pets. He's also house-trained, and knows certain commands like "sit" and "come."

It's a great time to adopt a dog or cat from a Jersey Shore animal shelter. Here's why (3)

Some other pets available at the Manahawkin facility are 4-year-old Luna, a tri-color, female Staffordshire Bull Terrier who loves walks; and Shiloh, a Tabby female Domestic Shorthair cat with beautiful eyes.

At the Jackson facility, you can meet Lola, a 2-to-3-year old female Labrador/Pit Bull mix who'd love an active family with older children; and Tara, a calm, 1-year-old Domestic Shorthair, female cat.

Go: Northern Ocean County Animal Facility, 615 Freemont Ave., Jackson; 732-657-8086. Southern Ocean County Animal Facility, 360 Haywood Road, Manahawkin; 609-978-0127;

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Jersey Shore Animal Center, Brick

It's a great time to adopt a dog or cat from a Jersey Shore animal shelter. Here's why (4)

While this shelter does not have anything currently planned for the holiday, they have plenty of animals available for adoption.

"We are just doing our best to get people to come in," Executive Director Laurie Fasinski said. "Dog adoptions are especially slow, and this is not just us, this is everywhere, every state."

"Things are so slow and just dreadful for all homeless animals that we know that every day should be Adopt a Shelter Pet Day."

It's a great time to adopt a dog or cat from a Jersey Shore animal shelter. Here's why (5)

One young dog up for adoption is Ruby, a hound mix/Carolina Dog who has been at the shelter for a year. She would love to show someone who gives her a loving home endless love and loyalty. Another is Martha, a 3-year-old Torti cat who loves to shower people with love and purrs. She hopes to find a home where she is an only pet, and where she will not have to spend any more time in a cage.

Go: 185 Brick Blvd., Brick; 732-920-1600,

Other events and shelters to visit

It's a great time to adopt a dog or cat from a Jersey Shore animal shelter. Here's why (6)

All Fur One Pet Rescue and Adoptions will be celebrating on Saturday, May 18, with two special events: a "Kitten Shower," to view their available kittens at the shelter from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and a dog showcase the same day at Toms River's Raven Ink Tattoo from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Plenty of pets will be showcased, including dogs like Jasper, Dany, Fred and Billy, and cats like Penny, Pam, Cookie and Jim (all of which can be seen in the gallery above). Go: For the shelter: 1747 Hooper Ave. Suite 11, Toms River; 732-255-3871, For Raven Ink Tattoo: 2918 Route 37, Toms River; 732-924-6002.

The Monmouth County SPCA will be hosting a Dog Walk and Pet Fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, in Eatontown's Leon Smock 80 Acre Park. All dogs must be registered at Adoptable pets will be available for viewing, like Gracie, a 9-year-old Pit Bull mix who is trained and friendly. See more of her adoptable friends in the photo gallery above. Go: 260 Wall St., Eatontown; 732-542-0040, Leon Smock 80 Acre Park is a few minutes walk down the street.

It's a great time to adopt a dog or cat from a Jersey Shore animal shelter. Here's why (7)

LIDA (Lawyers in Defense of Animals) Cat Adoption Center in Toms River will be hosting "cat yoga," where kitties can roam freely while attendees feel their Zen, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 21. Go: 34 Main St., Suite 1B, Toms River; 908-910-2522,

Visit Catsbury Park lounge any day they are open to spend a designated hour with nearly 25 cats and kittens who want loving homes and plenty of attention. Pre-register at See available cats at and kittens at Go: 901 3rd Ave., Asbury Park;

For a complete list of licensed shelter and pounds in New Jersey, visit

Shelters vs. 'puppy mills'

Buying a pet from an animal shelter is very different from buying one at a pet store, experts say. In December 2022, New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation prohibiting pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits. The law, which takes effect in December 2024, was created in an effort to end the puppy mill-to-pet store pipeline andstop abusive commercial breeders.

And New Jersey may be next. State Sens. Brian Stack and Raj Mukherji, both D-Hudson, and Assemblywomen Shama A. Haider, D-Bergen, and Luanne M. Peterpaul, D-Monmouth, introduced legislation that will prohibit the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet shops, "effectively cutting off the cruel puppy mill-to-pet store pipeline," they said in a news release.

The lawmakers said recent public records obtained by the Humane Society of the United States are evidence of the urgent need for their legislation to move forward. The records "show that thousands of weeks-old puppies have been trucked to New Jersey pet stores from massive Midwest puppy mills that keep dogs in conditions no New Jerseyan would knowingly support."

The legislation is backed by animal welfare organizations, humane pet stores, veterinarians, and cities and counties across the state, lawmakers said.

"When you adopt a dog [from a shelter," said Fasinski of the Jersey Shore Animal Shelter in Brick, "you are most likely saving its life — and another life as you are making space for another to get help."

Gabriela L. Laracca joined the USA Today Network New Jersey in 2021 and eagerly brings her passion for cuisine and culture to our readers. Send restaurant tips to

It's a great time to adopt a dog or cat from a Jersey Shore animal shelter. Here's why (2024)


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