Pierce County Humane Society waives fees in wake of pet ‘state of emergency’

Jul 22, 2023, 2:20 PM | Updated: 3:35 pm

The Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County is temporarily waiving adoption fees as they declare a “state of emergency” due to a lack of kennel space.

The shelter has taken in an influx of lost pets. As of Tuesday, there were 122 dogs and 189 cats being cared for at the shelter, according to a release.

“We don’t do this very often,” said Lindsey Heaney with the Tacoma & Pierce County Humane Society.

But an influx of lost pets, coupled with the pets they normally take in, has created a crisis-level situation.

“It’s created well over max capacity for us,” Heaney said. “We’re having to double up on dog kennels, for example, having put multiple dogs in the kennel as well as doing some makeshift kennels for them as well.”

More on pet ownership: Pet owners desperate for appointments with shortage of veterinarians

Since June 16, the shelter has taken in 343 lost pets, which is a 38% increase from the time period of mid-April to mid-May.

Wednesday afternoon, the lobby of the shelter was standing-room only, with reported four-hour waits just to view the animals up for adoption.

Annie was one of those waiting outside for hours. But she said it is worth it to take a forever friend home.

“We had a dog that she passed away a few months ago,” Annie told KIRO Newsradio. “And so we were kind of waiting to get a new one. But when we saw that the adoption fees were waived, we decided to come and take a look and see what was available.”

She and her children have an eye on a pup named “Cheese Curd.”

During the shelter’s Crisis Adoption Special, adoption fees will be waived from July 18 to July 23. Typically those fees can be up to $500. Every adoptable pet has had a wellness exam, been spayed or neutered, received an initial round of vaccines, and is microchipped with national registration. You can view the adoptable pets here.

The Humane Society said you can apply and adopt a pet on the same day.

For people who find a lost pet, the Humane Society asks that they take these steps before they bring them to the shelter to help conserve space:

  • Provide the pet with a temporary home, if possible.
  • Walk the dog around the area – most dogs don’t wander far from home!
  • Have the pet scanned for a microchip at your local veterinary clinic.
  • Post online and put up signage around your community to help locate the owners.
  • Call the shelter to give our staff a description of the pet for it to be included in our found pet records.

More from Kate Stone: Activist climbs Seattle tree to stop it from being cut down for housing

If you can’t adopt a pet right now, you can help by donating to support the shelter’s medical efforts and the continued care for hundreds of animals.

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Pierce County Humane Society waives fees in wake of pet ‘state of emergency’