Bridgeport Animal Control adoption fees sponsored during ‘Free the Shelters’

February 6, 2019

BRIDGEPORT — Aria has been looking for her forever home since Aug. 26, 2017.

The short-haired pit bull terrier mix wagged her tail ferociously as she spotted Bridgeport Chief Animal Control Officer Jennifer Wallace walking by her fenced-in temporary home at Bridgeport Animal Control last Thursday.

“She’s been here for more than a year and a half,” Wallace said. “She’s the sweetest girl.”

She said Aria has been at the shelter the longest, but there are some other dogs that have been there for about a year.

Wallace said the 11 dogs at the facility will be up for adoption during the “Free the Shelters,” weekend from Feb. 8 through Feb. 10. This is the Bridgeport Animal Control’s first time participating in such a weekend, according to Animal Control Sgt. Stacey Lyons.

“Our mission is to bridge the gap between adopters and animals,” Lyons said.

Those interested in adopting can visit the facility from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday to find the perfect addition to their family. Despite all the adoption fees being sponsored for the weekend, the usual rigorous adoption process will still be followed, Lyons said.

“We do not allow a single dog to go home without properly vetting the applicant,” she said.

Of the 11 dogs up for adoption this upcoming weekend, there are a variety of male and female dogs available, Lyons said, adding that there are a few cats available. She said the facility will have a few “small surprises” and some strays that have not been redeemed in the allotted time by the weekend that will bump up the number of pets available.

“There’s a type of dog for everyone here,” she said while being smothered in kisses by pit bull terrier mix Polly Pocket.

Those considering adopting a pet during the “Free the Shelters” weekend should bring any family members that will live in the home, any children, any other dogs or cats that live in the home, and proof of homeownership or a notarized letter from a landlord that says they can have pets if the residence is a rental. Applicants will also be asked to provide one personal reference.

Although most of the dogs up for adoption are pit bull mixes, Wallace said those who aren’t sure about having a pit bull because of stereotypes about the breed shouldn’t let that deter them.

“Come meet our pit bulls,” she said. “You just might fall in love.”

Bridgeport Animal Control only adopts out animals that are friendly, Wallace said. Various animal control officers play with the dogs daily, walk them and test them with other dogs and cats to see which could live with other pets after being adopted.

“The animals here are ones I’d bring into my own home,” Wallace said, adding that each animal has a different personality and different energy level.

Typically, it would cost an adopter $75 to get a dog and $50 to get a cat from Bridgeport Animal Control, with some additional fees. This weekend, those costs are being covered by the Cathy Kangas Foundation for Animals, a New Canaan based organization, and PRAI Beauty, a cruelty-free skincare line sold around the world.

Cathy Kangas, the founder of “Free the Shelters” and PRAI Beauty, said in a statement that “Free the Shelters” has helped more than 4,000 animals find homes since May 2017.

“We are delighted to work with Bridgeport Animal Control to find homes for all the animals in their care,” said Kangas in a prepared statement. “We hope that eliminating adoption fees will help remove a barrier to adoption so that the shelter is a temporary foster facility, particularly for senior cats and dogs.”

Each animal that is adopted will be spayed or neutered, have its initial necessary vaccinations and a microchip, Lyons said.

“We are hoping to put an adoption sign on every cage,” Wallace said of the animals currently up for adoption at the facility, which is at its current lowest number of animals in years.

She said that low number is because there has been a slower intake than usual and more adoptions.

“We’re seeing a lot more adoptions,” Wallace said. “People are coming in and saying they were thinking of going to get a dog from a pet store and coming to us first.”

She said the facility has also stopped taking in owner surrenders and will help people work with local rescue groups that can get those animals directly into foster homes. For now, Bridgeport Animal Control has been taking in injured, sick and wandering animals.

Bridgeport Animal Control, at 236 Evergreen St. in Bridgeport, is a division of the Bridgeport Police Department. They handle the adoption, placement and redemption of over 1,500 animals each year. To see animals up for adoption this year, visit www.bridgeportct.gov/animalcontrol.

Lyons said those looking to adopt who might be on the fence should come down this weekend.

“Meet the cats, meet the dogs, meet us,” she said. “The right fit for you is here.”

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