Plagued by overcrowding, all six animal shelters in Silicon Valley, including City of Palo Alto Animal Services, are now encouraging qualified adopters in the area to step up and help empty the shelters in honor of National Adopt-a-Shelter Dog month.
Through Oct. 16, each participating shelter is offering some form of special pricing to attract locals to take cats, dogs and rabbits home for immediate adoption.
"It is certainly a bad time of the year" for shelter overcrowding, said Sandy Stadler, superintendent of City of Palo Alto Animal Services. "After spring and summer, we are having a lot of babies born."
The current state of the economy, according to Stadler, also has an impact on animal shelters in the area.
"People lost their jobs or homes. And for whatever reasons, they are giving up their animals," she said.
The pressure on shelters has been high. Stadler said there are now more animals being sent into the shelters than those taken out every day.
"We are a small shelter. All the kennels are full," she said. "Though residents are really responsive, we are still overwhelmed."
The shelter has 12 kennels. On Wednesday (Oct. 5), six animals were adopted but there were nine more coming in.
At City of San Jose Animal Care and Services, where the shelter is much bigger, the situation is not any better.
"In one day, for example, they could have 30 animals taken by adopters. But there would be 60 on the way in," Stadler said.
To help relieve the overcapacity issue, all shelters in the area have rolled out special pricing for interested adopters and are now mirroring each other in the effort.
"We really hope to have animals re-homed and find a good home. For those who come before Oct. 15 to our shelter, we are offering a huge discount on dogs, cats and rabbits," Stadler said.
Originally priced at $100 each, adopting a dog is now $50, or a cat, $10. A rabbit is now $10, versus $30 before the special pricing.
But Stadler added that adopting an animal is not the same as shopping at a supermarket.
"There are requirements," she said.
Stadler said that staff members look at the various credentials of a potential adopter. They check if the potential family lives in a dwelling where animals are accepted and consider the potential adopter's lifestyle.
"If we perceive that the animal's habits and lifestyle match that of the potential owner's, we will ask every member of the household to meet the animal and make sure everyone is comfortable with the animal, and vice versa," she said.
More information about adopting an animal from City of Palo Alto Animal Services is available online or by calling 650-496-5971.