Adoption fees on paws: Overloaded animal shelters waive adoption fees for new pets

animal shelter adoption event
New York City Animal Care Centers is waiving adoption fees at all its facilities this weekend as shelters reach capacity.
File photo courtesy of NYC ACC

Animal Care Centers of New York will be waiving their adoption fees on dogs, cats, guinea pigs and rabbits as part of the nationwide “Clear the Shelters” campaign on Aug. 19.

All ACC shelters, including their Brooklyn location at 2336 Linden Blvd., will invite locals to meet the animals for adoption from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Katy Hansen, executive director of marketing and communications at ACC, said the goal of the event is to help connect pets with a home and assist new pet parents who might need some help securing pet food, medical care, or even a kennel as they set out on their journeys. ACC can not only help people adopt pets, she said, but keep and provide for them long-term. 

“We really want to work with pet owners to help them keep their pets and to learn about the resources that we have that maybe they don’t know about,” she said. “So it’s spreading awareness about that and also just giving people the chance to have a pet in their life.”

some of the furry friends up for adoption
Hennesy, Popeye and S’more are some of the pets up for adoption on Aug. 19. Photo courtesy of ACC

Hansen said this is a timely event as many shelters are currently at capacity.

“It’s the worst it’s been probably in a decade and it’s all across the nation. It’s not just in New York City. People are surrendering their animals in droves and they’re not adopting as much,” Hansen said. 

In June, ACC reported 546 pets were relinquished by their owners, and 1,481 animals in total entered the shelter’s care. Of the thousands of animals at ACC in June, 1,264 of them were either adopted, returned to their owners or transferred to a different agency.

According to Hansen, a lot of owners are put in the hard place of giving up their pets due to financial difficulties.

“Inflation really hit a big population really hard. So if you’re already living paycheck to paycheck and not a lot of extra and now all the prices come up, sometimes you have to make theses tough decisions,” she said. 

To alleviate the financial stress, adopters can show up at one of the participating ACC locations with just a proof of ID and address before walking away with a new furry friend. Participants must be 18 years or older and are encouraged to complete an adoption application beforehand. 

The list of available animals can be viewed ahead of adoption day on the ACC website

Since 2015, Clear the Shelters, a national project sponsored by NBCUniversal Local, has helped over 860,000 pets find their new homes.

As adopters adjust to having a pet in their home, Manisha Shah, a volunteer with ACC, said it’s important to be patient with the new animals and utilize the ACC aid services during these hard times. 

“It’s very stressful right now – for the people and the animals both. My hope is that we all give each other a lot of grace right now, including to the animals,” Shah said. “If you are welcoming a pet into your home this weekend, meet them with patience and compassion. They have gone through a lot and some may take weeks or months to decompress. That’s ok. Give them space and give them time. It will be worth it. “

(Update Aug. 18 at 4:30 p.m.): This story was updated to include comment from Manisha Shah.