The holding area for the more than 130 dogs residing at the Pasco County Animal Services shelter in Land O’ Lakes erupts with barking every time someone walks in.
Cage after cage is filled with large dogs, some weighing as much as 90 pounds or more. And many of them have some sort of pit bull in them.
“Sadly, 70 to 80 percent of the dogs we get are pit bulls,” said Judy Tate Gregory, education coordinator for the shelter. “Most people come in looking for smaller dogs, and they are just more coveted. The larger dogs? Not so much.”
And even with a policy designed to save as much as 90 percent of the dogs and cats the shelter receives, there’s a good chance many dogs with names like Jazzy, Flo and Luthes, will never again get to see outside the shelter.
That’s why the shelter is offering dog adoptions for just a buck through Sept. 28. Called the “Dollar Dog Days of Summer,” most of the dogs are available to good homes for a $1 adoption fee, plus a license fee of $10.
Each dog has been examined by a veterinarian, implanted with a microchip, and spayed or neutered — work that normally costs around $400. The total $11 charge is much lower than the normal $70 adoption fee for a dog, and a program that should make it easier for loving families to take home a new friend.
“Our goal is to save lives here,” Gregory said. “We like to find the best homes we can for them.”
The shelter is typically only required to hold dogs and cats without identifying information for 72 hours, according to county ordinances. However, the shelter tends to hold on to animals longer, doing everything possible to find someone to adopt. But it’s not easy.
“It’s hard to see all the animals in the shelter,” Gregory said. “It’s not a gloomy place here, and it is better than where a lot of them came from. But no matter what we do to make our shelter more comfortable, these animals really just want a forever home.”
In recent months, the shelter has implemented several programs to help get many of its animals on the right path. A foster program, launched in February, helps animals that are too young to be adopted, but are also without their mother. These foster families feed them, vaccinate them, and help them learn what their mother would’ve taught them otherwise.
Volunteers, of course, have always been the lifeblood of the shelter. They have to be willing to offer at least four hours a month, and be at least 15, Gregory said. Volunteers do everything from walking, grooming, cleaning, and even provide education outreach.
Adoption specials in September aren’t just limited to dogs. In honor of the late Philip Runnels, who volunteered many hours with those of the feline persuasion, Animal Services also is offering cats for a $5 adoption fee, instead of the normal $40.
“Kittens are cute, but adult cats don’t need to be taught a lot, and are very low maintenance,” Gregory said. “They need homes, too.”
To learn more about the “Dollar Dog Days of Summer” and also how to adopt a cat for $5, visit the shelter at 19640 Dogpatch Lane in Land O’ Lakes, or call (813) 929-1212.