Tuscaloosa Metro Animal Shelter will join more than 1,400 other shelters on Saturday as part of Clear the Shelters, an annual nationwide pet adoption drive.
“Events like this really help in terms of awareness,” said Thomas Sahm, Metro’s office and programs manager.
The shelter is offering discounted adoption fees as part of the nationwide drive, started in 2015, as a partnership between NBC- and Telemundo-owned stations and shelters across the country.
“We do hope with adoptions from this event we are going to able to accommodate all the animals that are in the overflow currently,” Sahm said.
Summer and spring are the seasons when the shelter’s intake of kittens and puppies grows, Sahm said. The influx has left the shelter looking for space and foster homes to meet the needs of the animals arriving at the facility.
“It is just the summertime ... we have so many animals,” Sahm said. “We actually have 16 cats waiting to go into cages. Any adoptions we can get right now will help with space.”
The shelter at 3140 35th St. in Tuscaloosa will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and its mobile adoption rescue vehicle will be at PetSmart at 320 McFarland Blvd E. from noon to 7 p.m. Adoption fees will be $25 on Saturday. Fees typically range from $25 to $100 for dogs and $50 for cats, according to the shelter's website. The shelter can take all forms of payment, Sahm said.
Those who want to adopt animals must bring a driver’s license or other form of picture identification, Sahm said.
“That’s really the main thing. They need to come with an ID,” he said. “That is really it. The application process is really self-explanatory.”
People who are interested in adoption may browse the cats and dogs that are available on the shelter’s website. Sahm said people can also fill out an adoption application online. The online form does not reserve an animal; people must show up in person to complete the adoption, he said.
In addition to the animals at the shelter and in the mobile unit on Saturday, Metro also has adoptable animals in foster homes. If the pet is in a foster home, a person should contact the shelter before Saturday to arrange a visit, Sahm said.
“We do have a lot of available animals in foster homes. We can set up meetings for the foster animals with some advanced notice,” he said.
The event is also a chance for people to research the adoption process even if they are not yet ready to take an animal into their homes, Sahm added. Others may not be prepared for a long-term commitment, but might be interested in fostering.
“We could really use fosters right now. We have some younger kittens and cats that would do well with treatment outside of our facility, which is really stressful right now,” Sahm said.
In addition to the fees offered this weekend, Sahm noted the shelter often offers other discounts on animals who need to find homes.
“We always have animals who are discounted at the shelter, especially dogs who have been here more than a month,” he said, adding heartworm-positive dogs also have reduced fees.
Since 2015, Clear the Shelters has helped more than 262,000 pets find permanent homes. Sahm said Metro has participated in each year of the drive.