Santa Rosa County Animal Services announced the addition of Operation Furever Freedom, a new program designed to provide veterans, active-duty military, reservists and National Guardsmen with up to two pets, all fees waived. Military dependents are eligible for reduced rates. Outside animals must have a fenced yard and renters will need a landlord's permission. An active ID or DD 214 card must be provided.

"This is a win-win program for our animal shelter, especially in a county with such a strong military presence," said Brad Baker, public safety director. "Pets provide their owners with unconditional love, and adoption provides a homeless animal with a new 'leash' on life."

Another addition to the department is the foster program. Fostering provides a temporary home for a homeless pet who, for whatever reason, needs to be housed outside of the shelter. Opening a home to a foster pet frees up space for other animals and provides individualized attention that certain animals require, making a difference in an animal’s life and helping the community. Fostering can be a lifesaving opportunity for:

Kittens and puppies too young to be at the shelter
Animals recovering from illness or injury
Animals that need a break from a shelter environment.

Want to help pets in need but can't adopt or foster? Shelter volunteers are needed for a variety of services.

The shelter's updated adoption hours are as follows: 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. On Wednesday evenings, the shelter is open until 6 p.m. for owners looking for lost pets after work hours.

For more information on Operation Furever Freedom, the foster program, volunteering or adopting, call 983-4680 or visit