Berkshire Humane Society periodically accepts transports of dogs from the south. Trucked up from Atlanta, Georgia, where overpopulation and euthanasia rates are high, dogs of all ages enter our shelter to find their forever homes. These transports of animals, from communities in need of assistance to communities in need of companion animals, have saved countless lives.

“There was a time, a few years ago, when people in our community couldn’t find the dog they were looking for,” said John Perreault, Executive Director. “Our shelter did not have the types of dogs that people wanted. We were also seeing many of our kennels empty and with a very limited amount of dogs. Potential adopters would check in with us for 6 months or more, and then when they couldn’t find an animal, they would turn to the internet.”

The problem was often compounded by unfortunate experiences with online breeders and puppy mills. Dogs with issues, purchased from unreliable sources, were sometimes surrendered to BHS, leaving the shelter to deal with more difficult dogs that were harder to place.

“People, who were potentially wonderful pet owners, were having terrible experiences, and sometimes just gave up having a pet at all. The shelter staff and I spent a long time considering whether or not to get involved with transporting. In the end, we decided to do it because we felt it was in the best interest of both animals and people.”

BHS began transporting in late 2015. As dogs of different breeds, sizes, and ages came into the shelter, people began to return to BHS to seek out a family pet, drawn to the variety now available. This return of potential adopters benefited the local dogs too. Once again they were seen, helping them find families alongside their southern companions.

“Our commitment has always been and will always be to our local dogs and community. Always. We believe that by helping these southern dogs find homes – dogs that might not survive without transport programs across the country – we are also helping dogs surrendered in our own community. The more people we attract to our shelter and help find the right animal for their family and home, the more opportunity all our animals have to find their forever family. The more people have positive experiences, the more they refer others to us to find that perfect pet. It’s really win-win for all.”

Due to strict Massachusetts laws, dogs are not allowed to enter the transport program without proper health certificates and vaccinations, and strict protocol is followed from start to finish by all involved shelters. The state has taken excellent care to keep canine diseases from the south from entering northern populations.

Berkshire Humane Society has a special room that qualifies as a licensed quarantine facility. This allows staff to carefully evaluate the health of each transported dog before it enters the adoption floor. BHS conducts its own health exams with the assistance of local veterinarians, and ensures that vaccinations, spay/neuter, and overall state of wellness meets the same standards as all other shelter animals.

“We’ve really seen the best possible outcome and impact we could have hoped for,” continues John. “We’re helping animals and people. That’s our mission, and there are many ways to serve it. Transports are just one.”