Denver Animal Shelter cuts adoption costs in half to Clear the Shelters

The Denver Animal Shelter has too many animals in its care — and now, the shelter is offering big discounts for Denverites who may be open to adding a new member of the family.

Coming out of the height of COVID-19 lockdowns and low animal intake numbers, the shelter started seeing an increase in intakes around Sept. 2021, Shelter Service Manager Meghan Dillmore said, and since then, the numbers have only gotten higher.

“We’re still more full than I’ve ever seen us, even with a lot of animals in foster care,” Dillmore said.

To help with the large increase, DAS is working with the Clear the Shelters campaign and cutting adoption prices in half through August. Regular adoption prices at DAS range from $15 for small animals to $170 for puppies and include spay/neuter surgery, microchip, vaccines, and a one-year license.

It’s not just dogs and cats, either. The shelter has seen a 175% increase in small mammals such as mice, guinea pigs, rabbits and hamsters, Dillmore said, and they even have some bearded dragons and leopard geckos.

The flood of animals surrendered to the shelter are for a variety of reasons, Dillmore said. For the small mammals, it seemed more people bought them for their children during the lockdowns, but they are being brought to the shelter since those kids are now going back to classrooms.

For dogs and cats, though, they haven’t seen as much consensus in reasons for more being surrendered. Some may be because of lifestyle changes after early pandemic lockdowns, new jobs taking people out of the city or owners not being able to afford them anymore.

But the rising intake levels also coincided with fewer animals being adopted out.

“We’re not adopting out as many as we normally do,” Dillmore said.

Aside from adopting, Denver area residents can help DAS and other shelters by volunteering, donating items or money and fostering. The shelter has streamlined its foster program to allow more animals to be placed in homes, and people can even take dogs out for day trips or short time periods.

“We take really good care of our animals here, but that being said, it’s still a really stressful place,” Dillmore said. “So even getting them out for like an overnight or a weekend, or a few days; if you want to go hiking, take a dog with you.”

Dillmore encouraged people to look into adopting animals during the Clear the Shelters campaign if they are able, and the shelter has experienced staff who can help anyone find the right animal — whether that’s a dog, cat, rabbit or lizard — to fit their lifestyle.

The shelter has a list of adoptable pets on its website, but Dillmore said the list of pets needing homes is much longer, and many of those animals are waiting in line to be cleared by a vet before they can be made adoptable.

Adoptions made during this special event go through a standard adoption process to make sure both pets and people find the right fit.

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