From now until September 19, you can adopt a pet from Burlington Animal Services (BAS) for a fraction of the usual cost thanks to the nationwide Clear the Shelters initiative.
The initiative is intended to encourage the public to support local animal shelters to adopt from and donate to the shelters. To incentivize this, BAS has lowered the adoption fee on all animals to just $10. If adoption isn’t possible, Greater Good Charities has made it possible to still help out through donations.
All the proceeds from the adoptions and donations will go to the BAS medical care fund, which handles out of house medical expenses, for things like x-rays and blood work, for the animals they house.
Clear the Shelters began in 2014 Dallas-Fort Worth and, prior to last year, it was only a weekend-long event in which shelters and rescues were encouraged to waive or drastically reduce pet adoption fees.
BAS Program Manager Laura Michel said, due to Covid, the premise of the initiative was altered and it became a month-long event focused not only on increasing pet adoptions but on garnering donations as well.
Beginning yearly in early spring, BAS begins to see an uptick in the number of animals coming into the shelter. That number continues to rise throughout the summer and early fall, Michel said. Clear the Shelters, and other initiatives like it, take some of the stress off shelters.
“That's why they have it this time of year, because every single shelter struggles in the summer months with so many animals, and it really taps out your resources,” Michel said. “It's a stress on the staff, it's a stress on your financial resources, it's just a tough time.”
Michel added that without the many Alamance County residents who foster animals, it would be just about impossible for BAS to provide the high level of care they currently do.
For BAS, Clear the Shelters, and other similar events, have been extremely successful in terms of the number of animals adopted out.
“Having these fee reduction specials absolutely helps and encourages people to adopt, and we do not experience any higher rate of return or any issues in comparison to when it's the $90 fee,” Michel said.
Michel noted that groups like the ASPCA and the Best Friends Animal society encourage adoption fee reducing programs, as making it more expensive or challenging to adopt is senseless – someone who wants to adopt a pet will find a way to do it. When shelters make adoption affordable and accessible, it works out better for all parties involved.
“If you're not going to adopt out to them, if you have a lot of barriers whether it's a high adoption fee or application process, all these limitations, they're going to go someplace else…” she said. “I would much rather somebody come here and pay $10 or $20 because that's what they can afford and I know that when that pet leaves here it has been spayed or neutered, it's fully vaccinated, and is in really reasonably good health and, hopefully, that person will provide for them and give them a good home.”
Additionally, during the Clear the Shelters event, many partnering companies and organizations are matching donations up to a certain amount. On Tuesday, Hill’s Pet Nutrition is matching all donations up to $25,000, Michel said.
To donate to BAS, go to www.clearthesheltersfund.org and select Burlington Animal Services; to find out more about pet adoption and how to do it, contact BAS.