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Forsyth Animal Shelter helps animals, new owners stay together

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The Forsyth County Animal Shelter says while adoption rates have been good in recent months, the number of people bringing newly adopted pets back to the shelter has grown.

Over the last year, nearly 15 percent of dogs and 6 percent of cats adopted were returned and that is why the shelter has formed the Cat Help Team and the Stay Together Program for dogs.

Both teams have animal enthusiasts, veterinarians, breed experts, trainers and other volunteers on hand to work with new owners to try to solve problems a new pet can bring.

"We want them to stay in long-term permanent homes and don't want people to get frustrated with typical animal behavior. Behavioral problems and people not sure why they are doing things. With cat's issues, it's just not medical and it's not understanding how to communicate what the cat is trying to tell you," said Tim Jennings, Forsyth County Animal Control Director.

With dogs, Jennings says people often have issues with other pets and getting the dog house broken.

"Sometimes its behavioral things that can be completely fixed if they knew what they were doing," said Karin Burnette, a team member at the shelter.

Both teams have volunteers on hand most days at the shelter. On the second Saturday of the month, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. the teams are on-hand for one-on-one training, answering questions and to work with owners and their pets.

Animal control says the goal is to keep adopted pets in their new homes.

"We work hard to get animals out of here. Most of them have not had a great life before here and when they go out the door we are hoping they are going to get to stay," said Burnette.