DERWOOD — The Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center (MCASAC) held their 2019 Clear the Shelters event on August 17.
The event, which takes place nationwide, helps to get furry creatures to their forever homes by waiving adoption fees. This year is MCASAC’s fifth time participating in the event.
Maria Anselmo, who serves as MCASAC’s community relations manager, explained that the adoption process during the Clear the Shelters event does not change very much: potential families must bring a government-issued ID and a pet addendum if you rent an apartment or house. Every member of the household must also attend the event, among other requirements. The only change for these events is the lack of adoption fees, Anselmo explained.
“We encourage same-day adoptions,” Anselmo said. “We ask that anybody that comes in (to) be ready to actually adopt if they’re filling out the application and questionnaire itself. We welcome people to come in and take a look; if they’re not ready to adopt they can still come in and look.”
This year’s event was well-attended; it created a line of potential families before the MCASAC’s doors even opened that stretched alongside the building.
Anselmo explained that these annual events are very effective at clearing out the kennels and getting pets into homes.
“I don’t know that we’ve necessarily cleared (the shelter) all the way because there are a lot of animals, but it is a really, really big event,” she said. “More animals leave on this day than any other day. I think that more animals tend to go home today than sometimes would normally in a month. It’s just awesome for us.”
Anselmo noted that the population of animals in the shelter is very high currently, so this year’s Clear the Shelter event came at a good time. She explained that MCASAC received a high number of animals after they were found in a hoarding case.
“It did involve 64 animals so that is a very, very large number to all of a sudden bring into our care in one day. That’s one of the reasons (this year’s event is important),” she said. “Summer months are always the really busy months for intakes in general.”
Anselmo said that often people surrender their pets for many reasons, but especially during the summer because they want to travel or their children are going off to college and will not be taking care of the animal anymore.
“There are a lot of different reasons for surrenders, but these do seem to be our busy months, so that’s why Clear the Shelters is so important and helpful,” she said.
Amy Penney and her husband came to Clear the Shelters to look for a cat to add to their family.
“It’ll be our second cat. We already have one, but she seems to be really disappointed whenever we leave, so we’re looking to get her a little friend,” Penney said.
She said that they heard about the event from posts online and on the news as well. Local channel NBC4 and Telemundo teamed up with MCASAC to promote the event.
“There are just so many little animals that need to be loved, so you don’t need to go to a breeder to find the perfect critter for your house,” she said. “We’re looking forward to adopting because these animals need love, too.”
The Penneys came prepared for the event with a mesh carrying case to bring their new family member home.
Charles and Andrea Banks brought their two sons to the Clear the Shelter event in search of a new dog to bring home.
Andrea Banks explained that after having to put their dog down a few years ago, the family has been wanting to find a fifth member to the family.
Her husband, Charles, noted that their two sons, Noah and Asa, wanted to find a small dog like a Yorkie to add to the family but he wants a larger dog.
“I’m always on the MCASAC website. I’m always looking for dogs, and it popped up that the shelter would be closed on Friday, and that’s how I learned that it was for this shelter event,” Charles explained.
Events like Clear the Shelters help to save an animal’s life, Charles Banks said.
“Some of these dogs are unwanted or neglected or people think they shouldn’t be in the community; this gives these dogs another chance (at finding a home),” he said.
The event is not restricted to dogs and cats either, according to MCASAC. The adoption fee is waived for other animals, such as rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, hamsters, turtles, snakes and birds, among others.