STARKVILLE — Adopting a pet might be a little easier for local folks next week.
The Oktibbeha County Humane Society is holding its fall “Empty the Shelters” adoption event Tuesday-Oct. 9. This national event helps pets find their forever homes through reduced adoption fees.
For only $25, potential pet owners can adopt a cat or dog that will be microchipped, up to date on all age-appropriate vaccines and dewormers and be spayed and neutered, OCHS Marketing and Digital Content Director Courtney Krolikoski said.
“This is a great opportunity for people who maybe are on the fence about adopting, people who maybe don’t want to spend or don’t necessarily have the financial means necessary to spend that much money up front on animals,” Krolikoski said.
This national event is conducted by the BISSELL Pet Foundation, an organization that exists to support animal welfare and provide resources to underserved communities. BISSELL Marketing and Public Relations Specialist Brittany Schlacter said the foundation created Empty the Shelters in 2016 as a way to not only find homes for pets but also create awareness for local animal shelters across the country.
“The goal of our organization is to end pet homelessness, and we have a variety of programs to make sure we can make that happen,” Schlacter said.
Since its beginning, Empty the Shelters has had 61,787 pets adopted, and Schlacter said she hopes this number increases through this fall’s Empty the Shelters. One-hundred and ninety eight shelters in 41 states across the country are participating in the event this year.
Typically, animals at OCHS cost $75 for adult cats, $90 for kittens, $120 for adult dogs and $170 for puppies. Through Empty the Shelters, individuals interested in adopting animals only have to pay $25 with BISSELL covering the remaining fees.
OCHS had 45 animals — 26 cats and 19 dogs — available for adoption as of Thursday, but Krolikoski said that number could change before the event begins Tuesday.
Krolikoski said this event sheds light on how many animals there are in the community and allows the shelter to open up space for more animals that are in need of care and finding a home. Several animals have come into OCHS over the past few months, Krolikoski said, with not as many animals leaving. Opening up more spots allows for more animals to come into the shelter, and Empty the Shelter is a way to create that space.
“By reducing the number of new animals in the community, it allows us to provide more care to more animals,” Krolikoski said. “The less number out there, the less number we have here which allows us to take in the ones that are still out there.”
Even if individuals do not want to adopt a pet at this time, they can donate to OCHS. Schlacter said she encourages community members to visit the shelter next week because people never know when they might find that “special one.”
“I think this is the perfect opportunity to consider bringing a pet home that maybe you weren’t sure of at first,” Schlacter said. “Go into the shelter with an open mind. Meet the pets. Spend some time with the ones that are a little bit more shy. Just be open-minded when you go in there because maybe the dog that is super shy in the shelter is a completely different animal once you get home.”