Taking home a furry friend is getting easier in Riverside County.
The county’s Department of Animal Services is waiving all adoption fees starting Monday to offset the packed conditions at its shelters in Jurupa Valley and Thousand Palms.
“We’re at maximum capacity and we need the public’s help to immediately improve the outcomes of dogs and cats currently in our care,” Animal Services Director Erin Gettis said.
As of Monday, the county is caring for almost 900 animals, including 644 dogs. Staffers at the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms are caring for 211 dogs and 52 cats. The staff at the Western Riverside County/City Animal Shelter in Jurupa Valley are currently caring for 420 dogs and 153 cats.
The county’s Animal Services is a high-volume sheltering organization, impounding more than 30,000 animals annually.
The current trend is not sustainable, the agency said Monday, explaining that more animals are impounded by officers or brought into the shelter by the public than the number of animals getting adopted or transferred to rescue partner organizations.
More than 20,000 animals arrived at the shelter as strays last year, Animal Services said.
The county’s two shelters are seeing an abundance of large-breed dogs, in particular German shepherds and huskies.
“With large breed dogs it becomes challenging with kenneling as some of these dogs need more space, or need to be kenneled separately which compounds our problem,” Gettis said.
Waiving adoption fees is typically only done on special occasions, such as for events and holidays, but waiving adoption fees for the foreseeable future is a new approach for Animal Services.
“It is important we send this message of our urgent need,” Gettis said. “As summer approaches there are additional challenges with kitten season and the Fourth-of-July holiday when Animal Services sees a large increase of impounds.”
The public can help with long term efforts to address pet overpopulation in Riverside County by spaying and neutering their pets, microchipping them to help reunite lost pets with their families, putting a collar and tag on your pet to help when they are lost, and spreading the word on the importance of these important steps to help combat pet overpopulation, Animal Services said.
Residents who can’t adopt are being asked to assist in other ways, such as signing up to be a volunteer to help socialize and walk with the larger breed dogs, or fostering animals in their homes, especially kittens.
“At the moment, this is a call for immediate action,” Gettis said. “Please help reduce the number of animals in our care by adopting or rescuing large breed dogs. The shelter is full and we cannot do this without your help.”
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