FORT WORTH -- Shelly Meeks said you'd have thought a hurricane hit somewhere last week and left hundreds of homeless pets in its wake.
"We had a major influx of animals," she said.
But it wasn't a massive disaster that left Humane Society of North Texas workers, space and resources straining, Meeks said. It was just nature.
"Spring and summer months bring in an increase of dogs, anyway, but this last season has been overwhelming," she said.
Then the owner of an East Texas puppy mill died and her husband told the Harrison County animal shelter to haul away 52 dogs and puppies, Meeks said. Operators at that shelter had to send them somewhere else or euthanize them.
The Humane Society of North Texas stepped up, and Meeks said its workers have been grooming the dogs and taking care of their medical issues since Friday. Some were in pretty desperate shape.
All told, the shelter, its satellite adoption centers and foster homes are now taking care of more than 700 animals, Meeks said, and the workers are determined to find them homes.
"Once an animal gets into our adoption program it stays there until it's adopted, unless it begins to display behavioral problems, becomes distressed or aggressive," she said.
Meeks and her associates are begging for the public's help and making it easier by lowering adoption fees to $25 for adult dogs and $50 for puppies.
Selected vets waive their $45 to $75 office fee so adopters can have their dogs checked out, Meeks said.
This would not be the first time that area residents responded to a shelter's call for help.
Only a couple of weeks ago, Fort Worth's Chuck Silcox Animal Shelter had 550 animals in a 400-capacity facility. The prospect of euthanizing adoptable animals was real for the first time in two years, said spokesman Brandon Bennett.
The unwelcome alternative was averted when hundreds of people responded, said Mike Camp, animal services manager.
"We did very well," he said. "Within five days we adopted or rescued out more than 500 animals. To me it says that the citizens of Fort Worth are very concerned about the health and welfare of the animals in the city and are willing to help when they're called upon."
Meeks hopes for a similar response.
This report contains material from the Star-Telegram archives.
Terry Evans, 817-390-7620