Fort Worth's Animal Shelter is so overcrowded that it's dropped its adoption fee to $10 in an effort to boost the number of pets going out the door.
The shelter has seen an unusually high number of people surrendering their pets this month, as well as an increase in the number of strays animal control officers are picking up off the streets.
"We're full and it makes it tough on everybody," said Tim Morton, a veterinarian and the city's assistant director of Code Compliance. "We're having a lot more surrenders, even more than normal for this time of year. We have to make capacity in another way, and that's not something anyone wants to do. It's not a good day out there today," he said Thursday.
Fort Worth is not alone in exceeding capacity. Dallas is facing the same thing and is offering free adoptions.
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Diane Covey, Fort Worth Code Compliance spokeswoman, said Collin County and the city of Denton animal services are full as well.
"The shelters are desperately in need of help to find these amazing pets forever homes," Covey said. "We’re hoping we can appeal to all pet-lovers and ask them to step forward and offer assistance. Even for those who can't adopt, both shelters are looking for fosters who can temporarily take in a dog or kittens."
In April and May, Fort Worth took in 2,615 animals.
"We have had days where we were bringing in 80 animals a day," Morton said.
Dallas has reported taking in more than 3,000 animals in May, with 106 coming in just on Tuesday.
Fort Worth usually charges $49 for a pet adoption. The $10 fee covers hundreds of dollars worth of services, Morton said, including microchipping, spaying/neutering, vaccinations, and the animal is treated for internal parasites, fleas and ticks.
Morton said people are dropping off their animals for a variety of reasons. Many are saying they're moving now that school is out and can no longer take care of their pet, he said.
On Thursday, the city was caring for about 753 animals, about 600 at the Chuck Silcox Animal Care & Adoption Center, at 4900 Martin St., and 40 each at the PetSmart Charities Adoption Centers, and about 15 at the city's Hillshire Drop-off Station, at 301 Hillshire Dr., near Bonds Ranch Road and U.S. 287. The PetSmart Charities Adoption Centers are at 4800 SW Loop 820 and 2901 Texas Sage Trail.
Several kennels were recently installed in the drop-off center to help with getting animals to residents on the north side of Fort Worth, Morton said.
Earlier this month, voters approved a $13.7 million bond proposition to build an animal shelter on the city's far north side. It likely will be near the Hillshire Drop-off Station.