An animal shelter Down East is resorting to provocative signage to boost pet adoptions.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Hancock County put up a sign in front of its Trenton-based animal shelter Sunday that reads: “Live Nude Dog$, Free Lap Dan¢es.”

Though some have taken the adult entertainment reference the wrong way, it was intended to be funny and grab attention, said shelter director Diana de los Santos. The reaction has been mostly positive, she said in an email.

Santos said she got the idea from another shelter’s Facebook page about a year ago. She said the Live Nude Dog, Free Lap Dance advertisement has been floating the around the Web for some time.

“Anything and everything goes when it comes to dogs finding their forever homes,” Linda Dodd Dickson posted on the SPCA’s Facebook page. “I think it’s great! Think they should set up a dog kissing booth.”

But Brendalee McDougall Volz wrote, “A bit inappropriate for little ones to see in a public place. Especially the ones coming to adopt a pet. I don’t think this is appropriate at all. Bad taste.”

Santos said her objective is to get more people to adopt animals. Her strategy has worked well so far, with two dogs and several cats getting adopted since the sign went up.

“We cannot please everybody, and our focus is on getting animals adopted,” Santos said in an email. “We are a no-kill shelter, meaning we will never euthanize for space … we will euthanize only if there is extreme sickness in which there is no quality of life.”

Santos said the shelter has space for as many as 15 dogs and 75 cats. It now has seven dogs and 62 cats, including several kittens.

“Will (the sign) lead to increased adoptions? Time will tell,” Santos said. “I think mixing signs like this with other informational signs and slogans that we put up help us get the word out there. The sign we put up the week before was ‘Be safe, microchip your pet, only 25 bucks …’ “

Santos said the sign prompted several people to bring their pets in to get chips so they can be tracked if they get lost.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]