Empty the Shelter Day Lives Up to Name

For most of the summer, Arlington Animal Services has been running rampant with cats and dogs. Saturday, it ran rampant with people. 

“I’ve been doing this 14 years and this is the most packed our shelter has ever been,” said Ray Rentschler, field operations director for Arlington Animal Services. “We love it.”

They joined NBC 5 and dozens of other shelters across North Texas for “Empty the Shelter Day,” waiving their adoption fees in hopes of putting thousands of shelter animals into loving homes.

As of Saturday evening, 2,217 animals found new homes, according to Corey Price, animals services manager with the city of Irving, which organized the effort. Dallas Animal Services adopted out 149 cats and dogs. The two shelters in Irving adopted out 157 pets. Arlington found new homes for 133 animals.

Kim Cyrus and her sister Lauryn were two of the first people through the door in Arlington — and it didn’t take long for them to settle on a puppy.

“It was just his cute little face,” said Kim Cyrus. “He had such a cute personality at the window.”

They say they too were surprised by the huge turnout — and were glad they got to the shelter when they did.

“You can’t let them out of your sight once you find one because they’ll be gone real quick,” said Lauryn Cyrus. “There’s tons of people out there waiting for them.”

Arlington Animal Services said that’s no exaggeration. On a typical Saturday, they’ll adopt out 10 dogs if they’re lucky. Saturday, they had already surpassed that total within the first hour.

“They are flying out,” said Rentschler.

Other shelters had similar success. In Irving, there was a line around the building more than an hour before the shelter opened.

Organizers said they’re already looking forward to doing this again next year.

NBC 5 and Telemundo 39 are proud sponsors of Empty the Shelter Day.

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