Anne Arundel County Animal Care & Control (AACACC) in Millersville is waiving its adoption fees for all its available dogs, effective immediately.
AACACC administrator Robin Catlett said the fees are being waived because the shelter has reached the limit of its ability to house and care for the dogs it already has, even as more continue to arrive.
"Throughout the United States, many public, open-access shelters like ours that must accept all pets brought to them from their jurisdictions are experiencing capacity issues," Catlett said. “Our own shelter is now over its capacity for care.”
A shelter’s capacity for care includes the space it has to house animals and its staff’s ability to provide adequate and humane care for those animals, Catlett explained. AACACC is now at the limit of its abilities to provide care to the dogs it already has, yet additional dogs are arriving daily as strays are being given up by their owners. The shelter’s existing foster families have taken many adoptable dogs into their homes, but they, too, are reaching their limit.
“Our shelter has not had to euthanize adoptable animals due to exceeding its capacity for care in many years, but we are currently on the brink of being forced to make those awful decisions for dogs,” Catlett said. “We hope that with the support of our community, we can avoid this, but we believe in transparency, and we want Anne Arundel County citizens to know what we might be forced to do if we cannot find homes for more of our dogs.”
Adoptable dogs at AACACC are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. All available dogs have undergone staff observations to see how they behave with people and other dogs under a variety of situations, and all information the shelter has on each dog is available to adopters. Approved potential adopters can meet with individual dogs at the shelter and also arrange for their current dogs to meet a potential new family addition.
Although AACACC is waiving its usual $17 dog adoption fee, potential adopters must meet the shelter's regular adoption requirements, which are outlined under the "adopt a pet" tab on its website, www.aacounty.org/pets. Potential adopters do not have to live in Anne Arundel County or Maryland.
Photos of available dogs are on the shelter’s website.
Anne Arundel County citizens who are unable to adopt a dog can consider fostering one for the shelter to open up kennel space for the additional dogs that are arriving. Anne Arundel County residents should send foster applications and required documentation to email@example.com. Applications are located online at www.aacounty.org/departments/animal-control/forms-and-publications/foster_application.pdf or may be picked up at the shelter.
AACACC also has a live Facebook video that showcases its available pets on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. The video begins about 9:30am and is posted on its Facebook page for later viewing.
AACACC is located at 411 Maxwell Frye Road in Millersville. It’s open to the public from 10:00am to 3:00pm Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Wednesday hours are from 10:00am to 6:00pm. The facility is also open one Sunday a month with similar hours to Saturdays.
Although the shelter also has many cats and kittens, their situation is not as dire as it is for dogs, Catlett said. Cats and kittens younger than 9 continue to be $14 each. Older cats and smaller pets, such as rabbits and guinea pigs, are free to qualified adopters.
"National studies have found that there is not a strong correlation between how much a person pays for a pet and how loved and well cared for that pet will be," Catlett said. "Our own experience, and that of other shelters who sometimes offer their pets for free, bears that out. You just can't put a price on love."
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