Alamance County family to hike every NC state park with shelter dogs

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ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. -- An Alamance County family is challenging themselves this 2020 to help local shelter pets.

On Monday, FOX8 caught up with Phil Baker and his son Damon as they walked a local shelter dog at a park in Haw River.

In 2019, the entire Baker family visited all 41 state parks in North Carolina.

This year, they are doing it again and bringing along different shelter dogs from Burlington Animal Services. So far, the family has visited three locations in 2020.

“There are so many dogs in shelters right now that need forever homes and we want to do what we can to help spread that awareness and hopefully help them find that,” Phil Baker said.

The Baker family got the idea from the foster express challenge happening at Burlington Animal Services. Foster express allows people to take home dogs or kittens and keep them for a short period of time.

Laura Michel is the program manager at Burlington Animal Services. She says new creative efforts like this are helping the shelter succeed.

In 2019, the live release rate was 92 percent, up from 28 percent in 2013.

“We are saving many lives,” Michel said.

Michel says the shelter has made changes, like new programs and policies so more people can adopt.

“We used to require 21 as the minimum age and we lowered it to 18,” Michel said.

She believes the shelter wouldn’t be as successful without support from community members, like the Baker family.

“We are definitely animal lovers,” Damon Baker said.

Burlington Animal Services is currently undergoing renovations.

A new addition to the shelter was completed in December. Right now, crews are fixing up the old facility. It should be completed this spring.

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