When Rafael Sauls and his family visited Arlington Animal Services Thursday, he thought they were just going to look around. An hour later, they left with a cat.
“They need a home,” said Sauls. “Everybody needs a home, so why not?”
Shelter manager Chris Huff says those are the moments she loves to see. Sadly, she’s watching far more animals come into the shelter these days than leaving it.
“It’s overwhelming,” said Huff. “The summer months are always difficult.”
Since Monday, 40 pets have been given up by their owners and 96 strays have been taken in. In that same time period, there have been 32 adoptions.
Huff says there have been days where lines form outside their animal receiving center as people wait to give up their pets.
“Just recently, we received 55 animals in one day,” said Huff.
That’s one-fifth of all their kennel space gone in a matter of hours. Then, there’s the issue of caring for the animals.
“We have to feed them, we have to give them shelter, we vaccinate them, we alter them,” said Huff. “When you adopt an animal from our shelter, it comes with everything it needs.”
It’s a significant cost, which is why city leaders are now considering charging people a fee to leave their animals at the shelter. As part of their proposed 2015 budget, they’re recommending pet owners pay $25 for each animal they release.
“It will help us with the costs,” said Huff.
For now, though, the shelter is focused on helping people interested in adopting with their costs.
Now through August 15, all adoptions are 50 percent off. Then on August 16, the shelter will waive all of adoption fees for “Empty The Shelter Day.” People will still have to pay a $7 license fee, which is required by the city.
“It’s going to be an amazing event,” said Huff.