All pet adoption fees waived for Saturday adopt-a-thon

Published: Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 4:29 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 4:29 p.m.

A summer of crowding at Alachua County Animal Services is continuing, prompting the agency to team with University of Florida veterinary students to hold an adopt-a-thon Saturday at which all adoption fees will be waived.

The students, led by shelter medicine club president Patricia Diskant, will perform more than 100 spay/neuter surgeries in advance so the pets will be ready to go to their new homes on Saturday, said UF veterinary professor Julie Levy, head of the Maddie's Shelter Medicine program.

Levy added that many healthy cats and dogs at the shelter face euthanasia if they are not adopted.

"This seems to be one of the worst summers in a long time. More animals are being left at the shelter, which is leaving it dangerously overcrowded and increasing the number of animals that are euthanized," Levy said in an email. "In response, the veterinary students are hosting a shelter-wide Summer Lovin' Adopt-a-thon at Alachua County Animal Services this Saturday from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. There are kittens and puppies, cats and dogs, all sizes and colors. All adoptions fees will be waived for this event."

Animal Services Director Vernon Sawyer said this a tough time of the year because of summer breeding, but he added it is worse this year than usual.

"Mother Nature waited late to kick in this year, but she's not holding back," Sawyer said. "We're getting a lot of intakes. When we are full, we have to look at euthanizing animals. Although we have seriously reduced the amount we are euthanizing, it is still a potential threat."

Sawyer urged residents to look for alternatives before surrendering animals, such as asking friends or relatives to take the pets.

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