Shelter partners with pizza restaurants to find animals homes

That pizza a Miami County resident bought may not last the evening, but it could help them find a forever friend.

The staff at the Miami County Animal Shelter is hoping flyers being placed on pizza boxes by some businesses help spark interest in the pictured animal or another at the shelter as part of its adoption promotion efforts.

The idea came to the shelter from a resident who tagged shelter Manager Morgan Howard and sheriff's Deputy Sarah Fraley in a social media post of an article about a New York pizza shop that put animals' photos on local business pizza boxes to help find homes.

The flyers include an animal's picture, information on the animal and details about adoption. For those who want to help but cannot adopt an animal, the flyer includes information on the shelter's Amazon wish list.

"We instantly contacted businesses we knew and they were more than willing and happy to jump on board with us," Howard said of the project. Some businesses have had to step back because of the COVID-19 pandemic but others continue. More will be contacted about participation once the pandemic passes.

In the meantime, flyers were also placed at some area feed stores, which are among businesses considered essential during the pandemic.

"We want to thank the citizens and the businesses for helping us with the project and getting our amazing animals the attention they deserve to be adopted," Howard said.

So far this year, 26 cats have been adopted and 99 dogs. It is too early to measure the impact of the flyers but Howard said inquiries about adoptions have increased.

The shelter continues operations during the COVID-19 closures but with limited hours and visits by appointment. More information is available by calling (937) 332-6919 or visiting the shelter website at

Coronavirus: Tell us your story ideasThe promotional program is part of a new culture and new physical atmosphere instituted at the shelter during the past year, said county Commissioner Ted Mercer, who is the commission liaison with the shelter."We drive home to our shelter staff that finding forever homes for our animals is our No. 1 priority along with the animals' well-being. One new way we're doing this is by having pamphlets attached to pizza boxes," Mercer said. "I salute the shelter staff for making this happen. I want to especially thank our local pizza retailers for their help."

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