A wave of adoptions spared the lives of 68 dogs who were on the verge of euthanasia at Riverside County animal shelters, officials said, but shelter workers in Thousand Palms and Jurupa Valley continued to implore the public to consider adding a pet to their homes.
On Wednesday alone, there were 57 adoptions, while another 37 animals were sent to rescue groups, animal services officials said. Last Saturday, shelters in Jurupa Valley and Thousand Palms waived all adoption fees indefinitely in hopes of encouraging people to bring home a pet.
“We are at capacity and need the public’s help to immediately improve outcomes for the dogs and cats currently in our care,” County Animal Services Director Erin Gettis said.
As of Saturday, the county was caring for more than 800 animals – 263 in Thousand Palms and 573 in the Jurupa Valley. With the announcement of the fee waiver, they pointed out that the trend of bringing animals to shelters was not sustainable.
Both shelters were seeing an abundance of large breed dogs, which are often less favored by people seeing a furry companion, officials said.
Following calls from animal shelters, the post was picked up by animal activists on social media, hoping to save the dogs ahead of their euthanasia date on Thursday. The posts led to a flood of adoptions throughout the week, animal services spokesman John Welsh told City News Service.
While the effort saved animals that were redlisted, the Riverside County Department of Animal Services was still working to find long-term ways to address overcrowding and alleviate the current shelter crisis.
In May, 1,013 animals – 927 strays – were impounded and 386 animals – 363 strays – were impounded since Monday alone, according to Welsh.
He noted that the county still had to euthanize 54 animals, many of them because they were sick, extremely sick, or had incurable behavior or medical issues.
Welsh added that while 94 animals were rescued through adoptions or transfers to rescue groups this week, nearly 100 more were seized by officers and released by the public to shelters.
“That’s kind of why we’re asking for the public’s help,” Welsh said. “It’s not sustainable. This equation needs to end. By asking the public to help us better empower pets…there’s no way for an animal organization to keep up with the numbers we’re facing right now.”
He recommended that people adopt, sign up to volunteer, get microchipped, get collars or tags, and spread the word about the importance of fighting pet overpopulation.
“Not just for a week, not just because someone went on Tik Tok and said we were going to put these animals down,” Welsh said.
In an effort to help the shelter deal with overcrowding, the Mead Valley Community Center hosted a free vaccination clinic on Thursday. The Coachella Valley Animal Campus in La Quinta will host another vaccination clinic with free vaccines and microchipping available on a first-come, first-served basis May 19 starting at 10 a.m.
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