Montgomery County Animal Shelter is raising the woof by waiving adoption fees
THE WOODLANDS, TX – When it comes to business models, the Montgomery County Animal Shelter is one of those facilities that would love to close its doors due to lack of business. Sadly, that’s not the case.
For a limited time, adopting a pet is no cost to you
Last year, the shelter was able to tout empty stalls – or “runs” – due to a significant increase in adoptions for suddenly-homebound families during the COVID lockdowns. Unfortunately, the number of intakes – animals dropped off, picked up by, or otherwise ending up in the shelter – has risen since then through natural progression, according to MCAS’ rescue coordinator Catherine Doyle.
“I know it’s all over social media that pets are being returned by the families that adopted them, but that’s absolutely not the case. Those pets adopted over the past year or so are still enjoying their ‘furever’ homes,” she said. “Unfortunately, our current occupancy rate is normal for this time of year, due to the sheer number of unspayed and unneutered stray animals.”
Doyle stresses that the shelter has a finite space that staff there utilizes to its fullest extent. “For a brief moment, we celebrated having all of our runs emptied of animals. Then we were able to provide single-space accommodations – one animal per run – for a while, but now we’re forced to double up to where there are now two animals per run.”
Determined to bring those numbers back down, the MCAS has waived all adoption fees for cats and dogs from now through April 10. “Our dog runs are full and we’re out of space,” said Doyle. Currently, there are more than 250 animals – the majority being dogs and the rest made up of cats – in the shelter. Typically, it costs $40 to adopt a dog and $20 for a cat. Additionally, the savings continue for adopters because each adopted pet has been spayed or neutered, microchipped, and current on its vaccinations.
While every penny counts toward the operations of the shelter, this special deal is made possible by grants that the MCAS personnel seek with fervor. Additionally, special partners such as PETCO Love provide much support in finances and services, such as offering free vaccinations.
Another program with pets’ wellbeing in mind is the Wednesday Night Dog Walk. For this weekly event, trained volunteers spend a couple of hours getting the dogs out of their pens and into the outdoor grounds for exercise and fun. “Research has proven that any amount of time out of a shelter is good for a pet’s mental, emotional, and physical health,” said Doyle. Currently, there are about fifteen volunteer walkers for the Wednesday events and other times during weekdays, but the MCAS is always looking for more people willing to donate their time.
“Jill Becker is our volunteer coordinator, and she’s doing an amazing job building our volunteer base,” said Doyle. Training to be a volunteer has a minimal impact on someone’s time; an online tutorial and some one-on-two in-person training can allow you to volunteer your own time to the organization in any number of capacities.
Doyle also emphasizes the shelter’s fostering programs. Because it is essential to keep space available, plus equally vital to keep the pets in the best possible condition, the fostering programs are the next best thing to outright adoption. “We offer what we call ‘Foster Field Trips,’ where people can check out a dog for a day or the weekend. Kind of like a reverse doggy daycare; instead of bringing a pet to a facility from your home, you can temporarily bring a pet from our facility to your home.”
Fostering is also an important part of preparing dogs for the outside world. Doyle points out that many of the shelter’s animals are taken to northern states, which statistically have far fewer animals in their shelters than their southern counterparts. “We need foster families to keep these dogs for a week before their long road trips north, so as to acclimate them to what awaits outside of a shelter,” she said.
The Montgomery County Animal Shelter is located at 8535 State Hwy 242 in Conroe, just on the east side of I-45 in the shadow of Costco and Mercedes-Benz of The Woodlands. Appointments are no longer necessary to come adopt or foster, but are available for those who desire them. To learn more, call 936-442-7738, email email@example.com, or visit www.mcaspets.org.