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9:38 AM Fri, Dec. 14th

YHS 'Empty the Shelter' Adopt-a-thon kicks off

Imagine an empty animal shelter. For me, it's not so much a vision as a dream. It takes a pretty lively imagination to visualize an animal shelter without any lost or homeless animals in it. This is especially true this time of year. The month of July is typically the busiest time of the year, not just for the Yavapai Humane Society (YHS), but for every animal shelter in the nation.

In our community, the combination of forest fires, 4th of July fireworks, and monsoons creates a perfect storm of panic and fear for many pets. YHS is now braced for a huge influx of lost pets who have run away from home in reaction to any of these events. To make room for arriving lost pets without resorting to euthanizing healthy animals is a daily challenge compounded a hundredfold in the summer months.

One of the ways YHS responds to this annual crisis is to launch an "Empty the Shelter" Adoptathon! In July, adopters pick their own price for any cat or kitten and all adult dogs. Puppies under 6 months of age, dogs under 15 pounds and purebred dogs are available at their normal, low adoption minimum donation. All adopters still adhere to YHS's

adoption guidelines and application process.

All animals are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and examined by a veterinarian before adoption - a $400 value. Regular adoption fees cover only a fraction of the cost to prepare an animal for adoption; the remaining expenses are covered by generous donations from the public. Normally adoption fees range from $35 to $120, depending on the age and type of the animal.

It is our hope the community will respond to this crisis by making room in their hearts and homes for a lovable pet. If you are looking for a pet to adopt, you will not find a better time or selection.

Yavapai Humane Society is open for adoptions every day of the week except Tuesdays. We are located at 1625 Sundog Ranch Road in Prescott and also have a cat adoption center at the Prescott Petsmart on Highway 69. For more information, visit the YHS website at www.yavapaihumane.org, or call 445-2666.

During these hectic months, don't forget you can get your pets a microchip on any Friday at the YHS Spay/Neuter & Wellness Clinic located at 2989 Centerpointe East in Prescott. This is a walk-in clinic and no appointment is necessary - and a $20 microchip is a small price to pay to keep your pet safe. In fact, YHS considers quickly returning lost pets to their owners to be so important that we recently provided each animal control department with two microchip scanners so they can scan lost pets in the field and return them home without the animal ever seeing the inside of a shelter.

If your pet is already microchipped, please make sure the registration is up to date. A microchip is worthless without current information that will allow YHS to contact you as soon as your pet arrives at the shelter.

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at eboks@yavapaihumane.org or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.