FRONT ROYAL — Dootle the cat, Daisy the dog and other animals left the Warren County shelter and went to their “forever homes” Saturday.
The Humane Society of Warren County participated in the nationwide Clear the Shelters event with a goal of adopting out 30 cats and/or dogs between the facility’s extended hours. By the time the Julia Wagner Animal Shelter closed at 7 p.m., workers found homes for 15 dogs and 11 cats. Workers at the Julia Wagner Animal Shelter said they hoped for a more successful event than the previous year in which they adopted out only four or five animals. The shelter had 27 dogs and approximately 100 cats when the event began at 10 a.m.
Participating shelters waived adoption fees — $30 for cats and $60 for dogs — during the event. Adoptees still needed to cover the cost to immunize their animals.
Some people came in and walked out with a new pet cat or dog. Others, like Linden resident Chris Lee, visited the shelter, perused the selection, held or played with some of the animals and then said they would take more time to consider adopting a dog or cat.
“They treat the dogs well,” Lee said of the shelter staff.
Lee said he and his wife have adopted a dog from the shelter before and are considering adopting another dog now that their children have grown and left home.
The Perry family — Rebecca, Russell II and their son, Russell III — played with a trio of kittens and, later, took a dog up for adoption to a fenced in area outside. Rebecca Perry said the family already has pet chickens. Russell Perry II said the family is considering adopting a dog from the shelter.
One family visited the shelter and spent time with a dog but then changed their minds about adopting the animal.
The facility has qualified since 2012 as a “no-kill” shelter, in which it releases more than 90 percent of its animals to new homes, Executive Director Meghan Bowers explained. The shelter reported a live release rate of 100 percent in July, Bowers said.
Staff, foster care-takers, veterinarians and other supporters help the shelter maintain its no-kill status, Bowers said. Canine team leader Katie Kurzenknabe found a group that takes dangerous dogs brought to the shelter that the facility can’t keep, Bowers said. The group then tries to rehabilitate the dogs.
“So that’s made a huge difference in the impact this year in our ability to do that,” Bowers said. “But it’s also about having a healthy, clean shelter, you know, making sure nobody’s dying at the shelter, you’re controlling diseases and stuff like that and then being truthful and accurate with your promotion of the animals.