Nationwide “Clear the Shelter” Day

In America, on Saturday, there was a nationwide “Clear the Shelter Day”. The idea is simple. Shelters offer free or reduced price adoptions throughout the day.

The Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland hosted the event as have many other shelters throughout the country. It began in Texas last year and the event is supported nationally by a number of television networks such as NBC. There’s lots of publicity and all this helps make the event a great success.

The driving force for the success other than the publicity is the fact that adopters pay reduced fees or in the case of the Animal Refuge League adopters were encouraged to pay what they wanted to pay in respect of adoption fees.

Most of the adopters paid a fee of some kind, we are told. From that we can guess that people paid a reduced fee which is why they turned up in large numbers. They were queuing outside the door at 6 am, three hours before the shelter opened. By 3 pm 50 cats and 34 dogs had been adopted.

The majority of the shelter’s dogs and cats were adopted in a single day. And the success turned on paying a fee less than normal and to be honest the fee isn’t that high anyway. The Animal Refuge League say that they normally charge between $45 and $350. The average is somewhere around $110+ across the country I believe. This makes me wonder because the adoption fee is only a tiny part of the overall cost of looking after a cat. The adoption of a cat is not the same as the purchase of a product or item, a one-off expense.

An adopter will pay $45 within the first few weeks on food and other bits and pieces looking after a cat. Therefore, truthfully speaking, it would seem to me that the majority of these adopters may have misconceptions about the cost of looking after a domestic cat adequately. If they knew the true cost and had budgeted for it then a reduced adoption fee wouldn’t seem so attractive. It probably wouldn’t make much of a difference to adopters. Perhaps they were thinking about adopting and waited for the event.

It is difficult to understand the mentality although of course I’m not criticising the adopters. It is wonderful to see that so many cats and dogs were adopted in a single day. However, many adopters give up their cat for various reasons and a lot of the reasons are not good reasons. They are justifications when the real reason is going to be something like the cost or a lack of commitment or unwillingness to look after a cat for his or her life.

6 thoughts on “Nationwide “Clear the Shelter” Day”

  1. My local animal shelter in Riverside has a permanent cat adoption fee of $15. This includes shots & spay/neutering. This is cheaper than a “free” cat if the shots and fixing are included. The shelter provided medicine to my Gabriel for an upper respiratory infection when I left the shelter. In the long run, it means fewer pets turned into shelters, as the overall pet population is reduced.

  2. P.S. Even elevated adoption rates to $45-$75 is typical of some rescues. Their reasoning is that they want to screen applicants and don’t want abusers adopting.
    My argument is that, here in America, any cat can be found at any time and at location to be taken for free.
    Why would any abuser even pay $5 for a cat that can just be plucked off the streets at anytime?

  3. There were $5 adoptions from our kill shelter last summer.
    Even I applaud this, since we all know how I feel about county kill shelters.
    I just can’t understand why this can’t be the norm, since so many cats are killed every day. It’s not like county shelters need more money. They are county funded, which means that I and other taxpayers pay their way.
    They need to heed the demands of taxpayers.
    Guess I’ll be at another county meeting next week.

    • That crossed my mind too. If lower adoption fees bring such success it might be financially viable to reduce the fee permanently. Perhaps shelters need to be a failure to succeed or exist?

  4. I think that many of these adoptions may be emotionally based, rather than a planned action. I have no evidence, just my own thoughts.

    I doubt if people give much thought to the cost of animals or babies.

    • I tend to agree with you Sandy and it makes me a little concerned. The promotion sounds good and probably is good but it is not all good.


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