Volunteers, rescue groups get price break on pet adoptions

By: Tiffany Esshaki | C&G Newspapers | Published July 16, 2013

 Houdini, a 12-year-old dog, is one of the many animals available for adoption at the Oakland Pet Adoption Center in Auburn Hills.

Houdini, a 12-year-old dog, is one of the many animals available for adoption at the Oakland Pet Adoption Center in Auburn Hills.

Photo provided

OAKLAND COUNTY — The Oakland County Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center is getting into the summer spirit with new initiatives to find loving homes for the shelter’s many cats and dogs.

Through Labor Day, the Oakland Pet Adoption Center is waiving the usual $27.50 adoption fee for members of 501(c)(3) rescue groups.

In addition, friends and family members of OPAC volunteers will be able to adopt a furry friend for $50 off the usual adoption prices of $136.50 for dogs and $57.50 for cats. The volunteer incentive program, dubbed PAWS for Pets Always Warm Someone, will be available year-round.

According to Bob Gatt, the new manager of Oakland County’s Animal Control Division, the promotional prices are just one way the shelter is hoping to move animals out into new forever homes, as summer is traditionally a busy season for incoming strays — and this summer is shaping up to be busier than ever. 

“We’re almost in crisis mode here,” said Gatt last week. “As of this morning, we had 246 cats in our building and 154 dogs. Both numbers are above our comfort zone. The more animals we have, the more chances we have for sickness to occur and spread throughout the shelter. We’re doing our very best to find loving permanent homes.”

He explained that spring and summer are mating season for many animals, which usually results in a spike in unwanted pets turned over to the shelter.

“There’s this guy named Bob Barker, who used to talk about having your pets spayed or neutered for years on the ‘The Price is Right.’ Well, people didn’t listen to him, apparently,” said Gatt.

All of the cats and dogs turned over to OPAC are spayed or neutered, and are fully vetted with vaccines and parasite treatment to ensure the pets are healthy and well-tempered. Even the full adoption price is quite the bargain, Gatt said, because all of those services would cost hundreds of dollars at a veterinary office for a pet obtained from a breeder or pet shop.

No one knows better how important it is to find these cats and dogs homes than the more-than 100 volunteers who give their time to the OPAC on a regular basis. That’s why they want to cut a break to those volunteers and rescue groups, and their pals, said Joanie Toole, OPAC administrative supervisor.

“A lot of the friends and family, and the rescue groups, they’re probably our biggest champions for the animals here. They know these animals; they walk them every day. They kind of match (people they know) with the right pet. It’s a win-win all around,” said Toole.

Gatt said that the shelter is constantly looking to improve outcomes for animals in Oakland County. According to a press release, the animal control and adoption center’s save rate continues to improve, with 74 percent of the shelter’s population either being returned to their owners or adopted out to new families. That’s up from 67.3 percent in 2012 and 64 percent in 2011. That’s why, Gatt said, it’s worth everyone’s time to take a trip up to the shelter this summer to meet their new best friend.

“Lots of people don’t even know we’re up here,” he said, adding that other groups could likely be eligible for a discount. “I’m telling our staff to make sure we befriend everyone who comes through our doors. If they spend some time here, all of a sudden, they become a friend,” he said.

To see some of the pets up for adoption to a safe and loving home, visit oakgov.com/petadoption or call (248) 391-4100.

Oakland County Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center is located at 1700 Brown Road in Auburn Hills.