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Finding Adopters on Facebook
Is there a balance between exposure and spam?

I remember when Petfinder revolutionized the way adoptable animals found potential homes. A dog who might only be seen by a few visitors passing through the local shelter could now be seen online by hundreds of people.

Facebook has taken this exposure to a new level. Now homeless animals can be seen by people who aren't even looking for a new pet. Photos and descriptions are easily shared with thousands of people in a matter of seconds.

The City of Hartford Animal Shelter, one of Connecticut’s largest kill shelters, credits Facebook with saving countless pets each month. It's not uncommon for several months to go by without having to euthanize any dogs.

Last year, many rescue groups and shelters had their Facebook accounts suspended after being targeted by an automated anti-spam filter. Facebook has since reversed the glitch, but it highlighted the frequency and repetitive nature of these type of posts.

In addition to the shelters and rescue groups I follow, I have a lot of friends who post about dogs and other pets looking for homes. And there are certainly a lot. Even I admit that I sometimes glaze over the numerous postings on Facebook. However, I realize that this awareness is necessary for finding homes and I know many people who have found their new furry family members through these updates.

Are there too many adoption posts on Facebook? Do we just need to be more creative with how we use the social networking tool?

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.
CommentsPost a Comment
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Submitted by Anonymous | March 22 2012 |

To answer your last 2 questions - people that don't care about animals probably think there are too many posts about animals. Those that do care probably think there are not enough.

As for the spam, as with anything found on the Internet, you have take it with a grain of salt and do your research to determine what is, and what is not genuine.

Submitted by Anonymous | March 28 2012 |

I believe there's now a Facebook application that ties in to Petfinder so people can view adoptable animals. By posting one or two adoptable animals but letting people know that if they click they can see all available ones, it can help cut down on the number of animals that need to be posted individually and cuts down on the amount of work for shelters, rescues and volunteers as the info about each pet only need to be uploaded once to Petfinder.

Rescue groups have told me that is a great way to market adoptable dogs, but way more cats are adopted at off-site adoption events conducted during hours convenient to families, their largest market.

It's proven very helpful when professional photographers can donate their time to take great photos of adoptable dogs to use in their Petfinder ads.

Communities need to do more to help keep pets in homes and return lost stray animals to reduce the number that end up in shelters and rescues.
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