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ALACHUA COUNTY ‒ Thinking of adopting a pet? Now is a great time to add a furry friend to your household. Effective immediately, all adoption fees are being waived until the Alachua County animal shelter can reach a manageable capacity. Pet adopters must be 18 or older and show identification with proof of current address. All adoptable cats and dogs are vaccinated, microchipped and sterilized before going home. The shelter located at 3400 N.E. 53rd Avenue, Gainesville is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., excluding holidays.

Not quite ready to adopt, but would like to help? Volunteer opportunities include dog walker, cat cuddler, dog wrangler, animal photographer, dog play group attendant, transporting animals, enrichment facilitator, adoption counselor, off-site adoption event assistant, foster parenting and facilitating doggy day outings.

Also, fostering opportunities with a one-month minimum commitment are available. Food and medical treatment will be provided to all fosters.

In recent months, intakes have exceeded outcomes (adoptions, transfers and owner reclaims). A recent case in Micanopy resulted in the confiscation of 23 additional animals. Springtime has brought with it the usual overabundance of kittens and puppies. All of this has contributed to overcrowding at the shelter, with upwards of 50 dogs above what the current shelter was designed to hold. The County, like other businesses, has been affected by the nationwide staffing shortage. These circumstances are not unique to Alachua County.

To volunteer, fill out the online registration form located at alachuacounty.seamlessdocs.com/f/VolunteerPacket. Once you submit the form, you will be sent a zoom link to the mandatory zoom orientation. Currently, an orientation is scheduled for Saturday, June 25, 2022, at 9:30 a.m.

“We are so grateful for the help from our volunteers and other animal care agencies,” said Alachua County Animal Resources and Care (AR&C) Acting Director Nikki Healy. “My hope is that folks will use this new streamlined volunteer application to join us in caring for the animals in our severely overcrowded shelter.”

“There is an overabundance of animals in our southern shelters,” said Cathy Bissell, founder of the BISSELL Pet Foundation, in a recent article. “Shelters that have not euthanized for space in years are now having to make those painful choices,” Bissell continued.

To help address the serious nature of the situation, the Alachua County Commission will conduct a Special Meeting to discuss the current animal overcrowding at the shelter on Tuesday, June 28, at 5 p.m. at the Alachua County Administration Building at 12 S.E. 1st Street, Gainesville.

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