Pet adoption fees waived for national event

Lavenda Denney, executive director of the Humane Society of Warren County, holds an orange tabby that is one of the many cats and dogs for which the shelter will waive adoption fees as part of the National Clear the Shelters Day on Saturday. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – As part of a widespread effort to make a dent in the high population at animal shelters, hopeful adopters will be able to take home a new family member free of adoption fees on Saturday.

Two shelters in the area will participate in the NBC-sponsored Clear the Shelters Day by waiving all adoption fees for the day.

The Humane Society of Warren County has been posting about the occasion on its Facebook page, and is counting on the event to cause the largest daily number of adoptions this year. Normally, adopting a cat costs $15 and adopting a dog costs $30 without the possible costs of spaying or neutering, which will not be waived.

The shelter will be open during its normal hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for Clear the Shelters Day, and a number of the shelter’s cats and a few dogs up for adoption at the Petco in Front Royal will also qualify for the waived fee.

Anticipating a large turnout of hopeful adopters, the shelter will be turning out all its volunteers to assist with customer service. Those looking to adopt on Saturday can fill out an adoption form found on the website ahead of time to expedite the process.

With around 100 cats and 30 dogs at the shelter to consider and get to know, Executive Director Lavenda Denney encourages adopters to think about what kind of pet would be the best fit for their households ahead of time.

“Fit is more important than breed or even size,” she said. “Your family’s energy and activity level is important, how many hours a day the pet will be alone is important to consider, and then of course the cost associated with adopting a new pet.”

Suzy Daley, adoption coordinator at the shelter, has confidence that those on the lookout for the perfect pet will find one at their full shelter.

“We have lots of dogs and cats looking for a forever home and I’m sure we have somebody here that will fit their family and their lifestyle,” she said.

All adoptions on Saturday will qualify for the waived fee even if adopters can’t take their newest family member to their forever home right away.

The Winchester SPCA will also be participating in the event from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday. With around 160 cats and 20 dogs waiting for homes at the SPCA’s two offices, Director of Admissions and Rehabilitation Alicia Aston said she’s seen support coming from the community through Facebook.

“We’re getting a lot of good, positive feedback and a lot of people are interested,” she said. “We’re hoping to have an enormous turnout.”

Last year, 38 shelters across the nation participated in Clear the Shelters Day, but NBC reported participation in the hundreds for the 2015 event. NBC will be recording live at multiple shelters and will air a special on the occasion on Aug. 22.

Knowing that more than 2,000 animals were adopted on that single day last year, the Humane Society of Warren County is looking to fill its August adoption quotas and then some.

“I’m really hoping to clear the shelter – I know it does happen,” Denney said. “Clearing the shelter would save so many lives because it would open up those spaces for new animals coming in.”

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com