Starting this Friday, the Fresno Humane Animal Services will be waiving all fees for cat and dog adoptions in both Fresno county and city shelters.
This is part of a partnership with Best Friends Animal Society who will be sponsoring a national adoption weekend by working with at least 650 other shelters and rescue groups across the country.
“Giving them away for free sometimes is hard, but when they are able to sponsor us, that’s super helpful,” said Kylie Ortega, who is the human animal supports services programs coordinator for Fresno Humane.
Making Adoptions Free Can Push People to Adopt
To make up for lost adoption fees that would otherwise have gone to the shelter, Ortega says Best Friends will be providing reimbursment so facility funding isn’t affected.
Currently, both city and county shelters have hundreds of kittens, puppies, small dogs, big dogs, and breeds of every kind ready and waiting to be adopted.
Ortega says that what often happens when people see that adoptions are free is that people who were already thinking about adopting a pet will be more likely to go ahead and take that extra step.
“I think it kind of gives a push to the people that have been considering it, like, oh, maybe now’s the time,” said Ortega. “The shelter’s full, so this might be a good time to adopt a pet. So in that sense, it does help when we do these free promotions because it kind of communicates to the public how much we need these animals to go home.”
Both shelters are seeing their capacities strained, with a total of 990 dogs and 419 cats under their care in August, Ortega says.
Only 7% of those cats and dogs end up being adopted in a given month.
Animal Shelters Are in a Crisis
It’s been a challenging time for many shelters across the country.
According to recent data released by Best Friends, U.S. shelters are struggling with over capacity and a decrease in pet adoptions.
There are several issues adding to the crisis that include inflation and a veterinarian shortage.
Inflation is affecting the price of animal food, toys and other pet care services.
In addition, a veterinarian shortage in California has made it difficult for many pet owners to find care for their animals.
In fact, Fresno Human Animal Services is still searching for a veterinarian to oversee animal care at the city’s new shelter, which opened in June.
“We are still looking for a vet that can do spay and neuter and some shelter wellness stuff. So that’s also been hard on us to not have a vet,” said Ortega.
Despite these challenges, Ortega says their organization is consistently working with other organizations and rescue groups to help with their large intake of pets including promoting the reclaiming of a lost pet.
“We have a lot of animals here, and we are pretty sure that all of them have owners, but the owners just aren’t coming for them,” said Ortega. “We want to let them know that we want to work with you and we want to get these animals home.”