Summertime in North Texas traditionally results in the animal equivalent of a baby boom.
Animal shelters are bombarded with unwanted pets and strays during the summer, both from families going on vacation and an overabundance of litters from the spring, said Whitney Hanson, communications director at the Humane Society of North Texas.
To combat overcrowding, 33 shelters throughout North Texas, from Arlington to Burleson to Weatherford, will participate Saturday in the first Empty the Shelter Day.
The shelters will be offering free adoptions, with a total of more that 5,000 animals available for adoption, Hanson said.
Among those participating are the Regional Animal Adoption Center, at 330 Rufe Snow Drive in Keller, and the Welcome Home Adoption Center at 363 Keller Parkway. Both centers are managed by the Humane Society of North Texas.
At the Keller locations, the adoption fee is usually $150 per dog and $85 per cat.
“We had a huge amount of feedback once we announced we were participating,” said Nelda Corbell, manager of both Keller centers. “It’s a great opportunity for us to find more animals homes and make space for the new ones coming in.”
Each animal offered will be spayed or neutered, microchipped, vaccinated and examined by a veterinarian.
Hanson said overcrowding at the adoption center means not enough space for stray animals, and there is a bigger chance of disease.
“Once overcrowding becomes bad enough that diseases get spread, unfortunately some animals are euthanized,” she said. “That’s something we want to avoid and so we encourage foster volunteers and spread the word about the need for adoptions.”
Both Keller locations are limited capacity and don’t take more animals than they can hold. Because the centers don’t practice euthanasia, animals are kept until they are adopted, Corbell said.
More than 100,000 animals are euthanized in Texas each year.
Suzette Watkins, a Fort Worth resident, founded No Kill Fort Worth in 2010, a Facebook page that helps match stray animals with prospective homes. Since 2010, Watkins has helped 100 animals get new homes.
“There’s so many strays even just within Fort Worth, and I didn’t know the problem was so huge,” she said.
The Welcome Home Center places between 100 and 120 animals a month in new homes, and the Regional Center between 70 and 80, Corbell said.
Last year, Welcome Home adopted out 1,535 animals, Corbell said.