Adoption surge helps stave off Fort Worth pet crisis




Posted on May 22, 2012 at 6:45 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 22 at 6:45 PM

FORT WORTH — In less than 24 hours, the Fort Worth Animal Control Center went from a critical situation to a rescue story.

The city put out the call to adopt an influx of surrendered pets, and people responded — offering new homes to 87 dogs and cats by 4 p.m. Tuesday.

But there are still many animals looking for homes.

The city said 560 animals were taken in last week, well above the seasonal high of about 400. It was more than the staff and facilities could safely handle.

"The problem we face with overcrowding is, it is not a safe environment for animals at the shelter," said Scott Hanlan with Fort Worth Code Compliance Office.

He said the usual rescue operations were already overwhelmed, and normal adoptions were lagging.

Animal control quickly cut its adoption fees and pleaded with the public to rescue the dogs and cats.

The cost to adopt a dog was slashed to $24.50 from the usual $49. Cats were reduced to $12.50 from $25. The fees include spay or neutering, vaccines, licenses and microchip ID.

Fort Worth has not had to euthanize an adoptable, healthy animal since it opened its PetSmart adoption centers in April 2010. The overcrowding put that streak in danger.

Imogene Durham made the trip to a PetSmart on Hulen Boulevard to find a Chihuahua.

"I just can't stand the thought of a dog being put down," she said.

She took home one of the 12 dogs adopted from the Hulen location. The newest center on Heritage Trace Parkway reported similar numbers.

The Chuck Silcox Animal Shelter on Martin Street handled the rest of the load. It opened early, and staff members were brought in from other departments to handle the line of potential customers.

The reduced pet adoption fees will remain in place until the end of May.