GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Pitt County Animal Services is one of 10 winners of the “2022 Civic Excellence in Innovation Award” for its Mutt Strutters program, named by the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners in partnership with Civic Federal Credit Union.

Mutt Strutters, as it’s affectionately known, was created in partnership with ECU Kinesiology for students to gain a for-credit-service-learning opportunity.

Mutt Strutters provide much-needed enrichment and socialization for shelter dogs, allowing them to become more adoptable while allowing students and volunteers to give back to the community and advocate for shelter animals. Many students continue to volunteer even after they’ve gained their credit.

Shelter staff point out the combined efforts of students, community volunteers and PCAS staff have led to impressive results including adoption rates climbing, euthanasia rates decreasing and the benefit of physical activity for shelter pets and their Mutt Strutters.

“It’s really important for us to have these volunteers, a lot of times they can know more about the dogs than we do because you know, they’re with them every single day. That gives us the opportunity to kind of see what they are like outside of that kennel,” says shelter supervisor Miranda Guinn. “Not only are our adoption rates higher than they’ve ever been, our adoption rates, they’re sticking. We’re having dogs stay in their homes forever.”

(Graphic provided by: Pitt County Animal Shelter)

A recent expansion of the shelter nearly doubled the shelter’s capacity, which is why staff say programs like this are so vital to getting pets out of the shelter and into adoptable homes.

To become a Mutt Strutter or make a donation, please call PCAS at 252-902-1725.