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There are an unprecedented number of animals in shelters in Tarrant County. Some of them were born on the streets. Some became homeless when their owners died. And some, like Stallone –– a boxer with an abundance of personality in the Arlington Animal Services Shelter –– were surrendered when their owners moved and left them behind.

On Saturday, August 15, more than 50 North Texas animal shelters will attempt to adopt all available animals in the second annual Clear the Shelters event from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Adoption fees, usually around $50-$100 per animal, will be waived at participating agencies on Saturday. The adoption fee usually pays for the animals to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and in some shelters, microchipped. In addition, the animals have been checked by a veterinarian for health problems prior to adoption.

On any given day you might find dogs, cats, bunnies, guinea pigs, and even chickens at animal shelters in Fort Worth, Arlington, Grand Prairie, Mansfield, Burleson, Cleburne, and Benbrook. Most shelters will take pet surrenders, even if the former owner is dumping the animal at the shelter. The hope is that the agency can adopt or foster the animal out. According to Whitney Hanson, Director of Development & Communications for the Humane Society of North Texas, the shelters do their best to find homes for the surrendered and stray animals. However, the Humane Society and the larger city animal shelters are not “no-kill” shelters. Animals staying over a certain length of time may be euthanized, and that’s an outcome nobody likes.

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Part of the reason for overcrowding in the summer is the puppy and kitten boom in the spring. Despite the shelters’ combined attempts at education and low-cost surgical clinics, there are still pet owners who don’t spay or neuter their animals.

“There are also a lot of feral cats in the community, which leads to ‘kitten season’ in the late spring and summer,” says Hanson. “We have several hundred animals coming into the shelter every week.”

There will be thousands of adoptable pets available across Tarrant and Dallas counties on August 15. Some of the agencies require may require a copy of the landlord’s pet policy if you’re renting a home or apartment.

Last year’s event proved to be extremely successful at the Arlington Animal Services Shelter. Shelter director Chris Huff says that all but one dog was adopted. Out of all the animals placed last year, only two were returned, a rate that’s better than a regular week at the shelter.

The best advice: Go to your local shelter’s website and look at the pets available before Saturday, and plan to arrive early that morning. ­­If you aren’t in the position to adopt a “Furever Friend,” the shelters also need bedding, food, and cash donations for community education and spaying and neutering. For more information and participating locations, visit Clear the Shelters.

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