Promotion this week hopes to encourage dog adoption at overcrowded shelters

Dogs inside the shelter, waiting for a home.

CONTRA COSTA CO. (BCN) — In hopes of alleviating growing numbers of dogs at overcrowded Contra Costa County animal shelters, the county is offering incentives this week to adopt a new canine friend.

Referred to as the May Day promotion, the Contra Costa County Animal Services Department announced today that it would reduce adoption fees and provide free training for dogs weighing over 24 pounds that are adopted by Saturday.

“This promotion is aptly named … Our county shelters are at capacity so we’re sending out a mayday call with the hope of finding homes for the many lovable animals that are in our county’s care,” County Supervisor Candace Andersen said in a statement.

Back in February, the county department had to stop accepting surrendered animals because of high volumes of animals at its Martinez and Pinole shelters.

This week’s promotion is part of ongoing efforts to reduce overcrowding at the facilities.

According to the animal services department, its new director Beth Ward has put an increased emphasis on saving the lives of animals at the shelters.

Citizens for a No Kill Contra Costa County, an advocacy group that lobbied for a director who would reduce the county shelter’s euthanasia rate, cheered the selection of Ward last year.

The department also touted in its announcement today that its release rate of live animals is at an all-time high.

But the shelters are becoming overcrowded as the department now houses animals for much longer than it did in the past, animal services officials said.

“While we’re very proud of the improvements we’ve made in improving our department’s live release rate, the flip side to that equation is that your shelter inventory is naturally going to increase,” Ward said in a statement.

Ward added that promotions to offer lower costs and access to training “remove some of the barriers that prevent people from adopting, while also helping us to reduce the number of residents in our shelters.”

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