Dallas Animal Services is looking for people to adopt and foster dogs as they run out of space for large and medium-sized dogs.
The shelter said it reached its highest capacity since the start of the pandemic and needs people to adopt or foster to prevent the euthanasia of dogs.
All pets are free to adopt this week and have been spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. The pets also come with a voucher for a free visit to a vet.
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After being closed to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic, the shelter on Westmoreland Road will open its doors again Wednesday at 11 a.m.
”The community in Dallas has been very supportive of Dallas Animal Services and so we’re hoping that will happen again,” acting director MeLissa Webber said.
The number of animal guests at the shelter always rises in the spring and summer, according to Webber, and this year there is a large supply of medium and large dogs in need of homes.
“We might see 100 animals a day come in and only seeing 40 or 50 outcomes a day so you can see the gap in the outcomes,” she said.
Even though the doors have been closed to people because of the pandemic, Dallas Animal Services' adoptions stayed strong through a similar surge in animals last year.
DAS used pictures online and telephones to arrange distance adoptions with curbside pick-up.
“Our adoption returns are down, so it was working,” Webber said.
The success comes five years after a tragedy that shocked the city and sparked Dallas Animal Services improvements.
Army veteran Antionette Brown suffered a fatal mauling by a pack of stray dogs in an area where dangerous strays were common.
DAS teamed up with Dallas police to crack down on the strays. DAS became its own separate department with more money and manpower. Penalties for irresponsible owners increased and homes were found for more animals from the shelter.
The live release rate is currently 88.8% with the 90% goal in sight.
“We've had a couple of really good years and that's primarily because of the Dallas community stepping up and helping us find more positive outcomes for the customers here,” Webber said.
Online adoption will remain an option but in-person visits will be allowed starting Wednesday with limited human capacity.
In addition to the dogs, DAS said it needs foster families for orphaned kittens.
For more information, those interesting in adopting or fostering can visit BeDallas90.org.
NBC 5's Chris Blake contributed to this report.