It was love at first sight when 3-year-old Katie Marshall laid eyes on a Boston terrier mix at the Denton Animal Shelter on Sunday.
Her parents asked whether she wanted to keep looking at other dogs before she made her final choice, but the youngster said, “No, I want him. He’s a cutie.”
Over the weekend, Denton Animal Shelter Foundation Inc., in cooperation with the city of Denton’s animal shelter, held a pet Adopt-A-Thon, offering subsidized pricing.
Because of the shelter’s immediate need to find its animals a home, the subsidized adoption prices will continue through at least Friday, said Rosemary Grose, volunteer coordinator for the foundation. The shelter’s reduced adoption fees are $25 per dog and $10 per cat. Adoption fees are regularly $120 for dogs and $110 for cats.
The Marshalls joined several residents and families at the shelter, looking to take advantage of the shelter’s pricing. Denton police were on hand to help direct parking lot traffic because of the influx of people to the facility.
The event began as part of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ $100,000 Rachael Ray Challenge. The challenge is a competition for grants ranging from $5,000 to $125,000. To advance to the final stage of the competition, the shelter must adopt out 300 more animals between August and October than it did during the same period in 2011.
“That means if we can adopt out 1,183 animals by the end of October, then we can move on in the competition,” said Woodie Wilson, animal service supervisor. “We’re going to do our best, but all that means is that we’re going to continue doing what we’ve been doing, and that’s trying to save lives.”
The Denton Animal Shelter Foundation was one of only 50 nonprofit agencies nationwide to be selected to continue to the second stage of the challenge.
Grose said the shelter is designed to hold 114 animals, but during recent months, the shelter was forced to take in more.
“We’ve been forced to place multiple animals into a single kennel,” Grose said. “Hopefully, when we open our new facility, that will help us.”
The groundbreaking for the new Denton Animal Shelter is scheduled for September, and construction will begin in October. The new facility is planned to have about 15,000 square feet of space, more than double the size of the current building. It’s also expected to hold more than 400 animals.
When someone decides to give up an animal to the shelter, Wilson said, the most common reason is the owner can no longer afford to feed the animal.
He said he believes the economy has played a role in why more people decide to place their animals in a shelter and why fewer animals are adopted.
He said when adoption prices drop, adoption rates increase.
“That’s why we decided to adopt,” said Pete Marshall, Katie’s father. “It’s easy to pay $25 versus more than $100 for a dog.”
Marshall said his family has been affected by layoffs and pay cuts through the past year, and that it’s been hard to save for a dog.
“It’s pretty simple to give up your animal when you have to choose between feeding your kids,” Wilson said. “However, we do try to help people by giving a few bags of food to help them out because no one wants to give up their animals. In some cases, they are a person’s kid.”
The foundation is raising adoption subsidy funds to reduce adoption fees and encourage more people to visit the shelter. The Denton Animal Shelter is located at 300 S. Woodrow Lane.
For more information, visit www.dentonasf.com, e-mail email@example.com, or call 940-380-0929 or 940-367-4682.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .