Saturday will bring numerous life-changing encounters for dogs and cats — and their new human companions.
The third annual Summit County Adopt-a-Thon, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Division of Animal Control, 250 Opportunity Parkway in central Akron, serves both as an inexpensive way to obtain a pet and as a look inside the modern facility.
The cost for adoption is $10 per animal — far below the normal $90 fee for a dog and $60 for a cat. Mandatory dog licenses are an additional $14.
The animals are fully vetted, which includes blood work, flea treatment, intestinal deworming, spaying/neutering and vaccinations. They can go home that day.
“A lot of people come down because of the discounts,” said Craig Stanley, director of administrative services at the facility.
Christine Fatheree, the county’s animal control manager, said potential adopters often don’t realize the variety of breeds available.
“People are surprised at the selection of dogs and cats we have and how nice they are,” she said.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 81 dogs and 178 cats were awaiting adoption, Stanley said. The goal is to make Saturday as successful as the previous two events. Last year, 195 animals were placed.
Jen D’Aurelio, executive director of Paws and Prayers, which provides foster homes for pets until they can be adopted, said her agency provides volunteers to support the annual event.
“It is huge, and the response from the community is fantastic. The first time we did it, I was amazed to see so many people were standing outside and around the building waiting to adopt,” she said. “It is great to see all the dogs get adopted and about 80 percent of the cats and see the place nearly empty.”
Good for taxpayers, too
Dianne Kovack of Barberton, who volunteered at last year’s Adopt-a-Thon, said taxpayers benefit from the effort.
“It is better for the county to get some money back by getting the animals adopted [even] at a discount,” Kovack said. “The amount of people who come out for this are amazing.”
The event also has led several people to decide to become volunteers. They perform such tasks as walking dogs and cleaning.
Kyle Doles recently began volunteering.
Retired after working 32 years in the medical field, the Clinton resident helps to walk dogs.
“I want to come at least once a week to help get the dogs out to run and exercise,” she said. “A lot of the dogs know commands like sit, shake and down. I was surprised to see how clean the units are.”
A different shelter
Stanley said people who visit the facility for the first time often leave with a different opinion from their lingering perception of the old county animal shelter.
“Visitors are surprised how big and clean the facility is. The Adopt-a-Thon also helps us clear out the place,” he said. “We clean every day, but as we empty out the facility, we also get a better chance to clean and detail the area we don’t get every day.”
Stanley said the size of the facility and the ability to place so many animals in one day with the Adopt-a-Thon combine to eliminate another misconception about local animal control.
“People think we automatically euthanize the animals that come here,” he said. “We do not have to do that because of numbers.”
Stanley said the animals brought to the facility are logged in and checked for microchips or any identification to show they can be returned to their owners. Each is photographed, and those pictures are uploaded to Petfinder.com as well as the county’s website.
Those visiting the facility are encouraged to bring dog or cat food for the animals awaiting adoption.