Pets

Deep adoption discount draws dog lovers to Sacramento County animal shelter

Jesse Vallejo spends time with a 1-year-old pit bull as Stacy Alberto, right, observes on Thursday at the Sacramento County animal shelter. “I’m looking for a dog that will adjust to my 6-year-old daughter and my baby on the way,” said Alberto. After the interaction they headed to the adoption line.
Jesse Vallejo spends time with a 1-year-old pit bull as Stacy Alberto, right, observes on Thursday at the Sacramento County animal shelter. “I’m looking for a dog that will adjust to my 6-year-old daughter and my baby on the way,” said Alberto. After the interaction they headed to the adoption line. rbyer@sacbee.com

A sharp discount on doggie adoptions had dogs flying out the doors of the Sacramento County animal shelter Thursday.

The shelter dropped its adoption fee to $25 through the end of April. The promotion – one of several held in recent months – was prompted by overcrowding at the Bradshaw Road shelter, said David Dickinson, director of the county’s Department of Animal Care and Regulation. Built to house 168 dogs, the shelter had 205 before the discount day began, he said.

“The amount of animals we have in here call for drastic measures,” Dickinson said.

Spurred by a chance to save roughly $100 off normal adoption costs, dozens of potential dog owners were lined up before the 12:30 p.m. opening.

Richard Huffman came voluntarily – sort of.

“The lady of the house informed me I’m going to get a dog (today),” Huffman, of Herald, said of his wife.

Huffman, who came to the shelter with his 14-year-old son, said the facility was a bit of a madhouse, with so many applicants overwhelming the staff. But he eventually found a dog he wanted to take home to join the two dogs the family has already.

Pit bulls and Chihuahuas were the most available breeds Thursday. Two shepherd mixes drew so much interest that the staff held a lottery to decide who would get to take them home.

Allen Ferguson of Citrus Heights won the drawing for one of the dogs. But didn’t get to take Baily home right away.

All animals are spayed or neutered before they leave the shelter, and Baily’s surgery is set for Saturday. The adoption fee also covers all vaccinations, a microchip and a one-year license.

Ferguson said he was at least partially motivated by the steep adoption discount.

“It’s not too expensive because of all the medical care they get, but (full price) makes it harder to afford,” Ferguson said.

But as discount days become more frequent, including specials on Valentine’s Day and Veterans Day, Dickinson wonders whether would-be owners are waiting for the savings.

“We’ve done so many promotions this year and last, they might be waiting for a promotion,” Dickinson said.

He said a normal adoption day event will see 12 to 14 dogs find new homes; he said they were expecting to double that number Thursday.

The shelter is working to decrease the number of dogs the facility must euthanize, Dickinson said. He said the shelter’s save rate for all animals has increased to 75 percent so far this year, from 67 percent in 2014.

Call The Bee’s Ed Fletcher, (916) 321-1269. Follow him on Twitter @NewsFletch.

At a glance

Sacramento County animal shelter 2015 dog intake types:

Strays: 1,551

Owner surrenders: 96

Confiscate: 152

Owner euthanasia request: 97

Transfers: 7

Adoption returns: 88

Source: Sacramento County Animal Care

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