FORT WORTH -- After a public appeal for residents to adopt shelter animals, the fear of euthanizing them has been temporarily averted.
As of 4 p.m. Thursday, officials at the Chuck Silcox Animal Shelter said 407 animals had been adopted or rescued over two days.
That's a dramatic improvement over the typical two-day average of 18 to 24.
"The overwhelming response from the public has resulted in additional breathing room for right now," said Brandon Bennett, Fort Worth's code compliance director.
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But Bennett cautioned that the city could face overcrowding again because 106 new animals have been brought in to the shelter since the appeal began. Those animals will be subject to the 72-hour waiting period during which owners can retrieve them, but cages at the shelter will start filling up again this weekend.
So officials are encouraging residents today and Saturday to visit the two PetSmart stores where animals from the shelter can be adopted.
"Even on a good day, the shelter is busting at the seams, but if we can get through next week, we will have overcome this emergency," Bennett said.
Those looking for lost pets can go to fortworthtexas.gov to search listings of animals brought into the shelter. The city posts photos of captured animals and allows individuals to search for adoptable pets.
The scramble to find home for animals came after more than 560 animals were brought to the shelter in one week. Its capacity is 400.
Fort Worth isn't alone in facing overcrowding problems. Austin's shelter, which became a no-kill facility this year, had to euthanize 17 dogs this month. Arlington's shelter has also seen an increase in animal arrivals compared with a year ago, but nothing as serious as Fort Worth's situation.
The increased numbers are partly attributed to new litters of puppies and kittens. Officials also say more residents are abandoning their pets when they move, which might be due to the economic downturn.
To encourage more adoptions, the city has implemented half-price adoptions through Thursday. Dogs can be adopted for $24.50 and cats for $12.50.
Bill Hanna, 817-390-7698