County extends period for free pet adoptions

After a week of cost-free pet adoptions, Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey has extended the program through July 6 to better reduce the animal population at his agency’s shelter, which is close to exceeding capacity.

“We have extended it for seven more days starting (June 30) morning,” Ivey said last week.

Sheriff’s spokesman Tod Goodyear last week said the free adoptions, which Ivey dubbed Operation: Take Me Home with You, saw 33 dogs and 36 cats go to forever families.

That left 77 dogs and 84 cats still in the South Animal Care Center at 5100 W. Eau Gallie Road as of June 28.

In the previous week, he said, the shelter – which has room for 85 dogs and 98 cats, each at one animal per cage – was nearly filled at 83 dogs, or 98 percent of capacity, and 106 cats, or 8 percent over capacity.

“We’ve dropped a little below our capacity,” he said. “But that’s still not too far away.”

The crowding happens each summer at the shelter. Animal rescuers call it the “dumping season,” because many pet owners go on vacation and, refusing to pay fees to board their animals, either take them to the shelter or simply let them loose. And if the owners choose the latter, rescuers say they pick up the abandoned animal – if it’s lucky – and bring it to the shelter.

Ivey on June 22 reacted by proclaiming the seven-day Operation: Take Me Home with You, a free adoption special. The nonprofit Sheriff’s Pet Posse underwrote adoption fees and other costs with free spaying or neutering, free vaccinations and microchips, a month of free food, a kennel, leash, collar and toy.

Goodyear said he had heard the shelter would continue the free adoptions, possibly through July, but said he couldn’t confirm it. And Ivey wouldn’t go that far.

Ivey couldn’t be reached to say what other actions he is considering if free adoptions don’t make a dent while new animals come in.

However, Ivey often points with pride to the shelter’s no-kill status.

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