A national pet adoption event on July 23 emptied shelters across the country, including more than 60 shelters across Dallas-Fort Worth.
This was the second year for Clear the Shelters Day, a nationwide initiative to find homes for dogs, cats, and other animals housed in shelters, and more than 45,000 pets were adopted, including 3,300 in the North Texas area.
This doubled the success of 2015, when almost 20,000 animals were adopted.
The Chuck Silcox Animal Care and Control Center in Fort Worth topped out at 300 adoptions, while Dallas Animal Services adopted out 264 animals.
The event debuted in North Texas as "Empty the Shelter Day" in 2014, when shelter representatives across North Texas brainstormed a way to find homes for the hundreds of pets sitting in shelters. Shelters in Texas and the South are burdened with large numbers of animals, especially during the summer. As an enticement, adoption fees are waived for the day, drawing long lines of people angling to save a few dollars.
Studies have shown that getting an animal without paying a fee doesn't increase the risk of poor care or abandonment. Other than lifting the fee, nothing about the adoption process changes; shelters still screen applicants and microchip the animals. If any of the pets do come back, the shelter knows when it was adopted, and by whom.
According to the Facebook page of Dallas Animal Services and Adoption Center (DAS), at least one potential adoptee was turned away.
"In these events over the last two years, there've been no more returns or problems than any other day, and way less than when people buy pets around major holidays," said animal advocate Chrystal Hays.
In 2015, two media partners signed on — NBC 5 and Telemundo 39, whose parent company, NBCUniversal, owns stations across the country. Their participation helped expand the effort to other cities and turn it into a national success.
The event also drew a large number of volunteers from DAS, top volunteer group Dallas Companion Animal Project, and American Airlines. Donations and support came from WalMart, Petco, Vet’s Best, Out! Pet Supplies, Sponsor Adoptions, ASPCA, Merck, Kroger, VIP Pet, Raising Canes, Starbucks at Shops at Park, VIPPizza, Mr Snowie, and 311 Truck, as well as an anonymous donor who paid for the first 10 registrations.
Karen Kennedy, a regular volunteer at DAS, said that spirits on the day were high, with people lined up at the door, and called it "a great day for the animals, and very satisfying for volunteers as well."
DAS manager Jody Jones said that they were all great pets just needing a shot. "The mission of this campaign is to change the negative stereotypes of animal shelters across the country and put as many animals as possible into permanent homes," she said.