Nearly 300 lucky dogs have found themselves new homes Saturday after the Albuquerque Animal Welfare Shelters waived adoption fees this weekend. That number is expected to increase by the end of Sunday. But shelter officials say it’s a temporary fix to a larger problem.
Shelter adoption manager Joel Craig said, “If everybody was to spay and neuter their pets, things like this would not be required; the shelters would not be overcrowded.”
Over 15,000 dogs wound up at the shelter in the last year alone. “We have 58 to 60 animals that are brought into this shelter each and every day of the year,” Craig stated. “300 animals being adopted over the last couple of days will of course ease our overcrowding, but if we continue with that intake level, we will be back to full capacity at our shelters very soon.”
Victor Martinez scooped up a pooch for his sons. “I’m glad I can try and at least help one dog at a time, so to speak. It’s tragic they do take in so many animals.”
But Craig says if free is what it takes, that is what the shelter will do. “We’re hoping that this is going to have a dramatic long-term impact; that an event like this is going to remind citizens of Albuquerque and outlying areas the importance of spaying and neutering their pets.”
If pet owners cannot afford to have their pets altered, the shelter will even do it for free.
While what the shelter is doing is highly commendable, it might leave some to wonder, if the animals are just being given away, how can officials know they’re going to good homes, and won’t just end up back at the shelter? This isn’t to say that only people with money will care about their pets, or so many wouldn’t end up at the shelter to begin with. But people who are willing to pay for a pet may be more inclined to care for it, since they will have likely given some thought to the matter, rather than someone who just walked in and got a free dog.