County suspends pet adoption fees to clean up shelters in April

For the remainder of April, the Riverside County Department of Animal Services will waive most fees for pets adopted from the Western Riverside County Animal Shelter in the Jurupa Valley and the Animal Campus of the Coachella Valley in Thousand Palms.

The “BarkChella” free pet campaign kicked off Thursday, meant to merge with the excitement associated with the return of the Coachella Music & Arts Festival, with two weekends of fun at the Empire Polo Club in Indio.

“Thousands of music fans come to us, so why not raise the profile of our pets and the need for adopters?” Jackie Schart, director of the Coachella Valley Animal Campus, said. “Come for the music, leave with a friend forever.”

The festival has been suspended in 2020 and 2021 due to coronavirus-related public health lockdowns imposing constraints on crowd sizes.

BarkChella will offer visitors to either shelter the opportunity to choose a pet without paying adoption fees, neutering fees, vaccinations and microchipping fees. However, county residents will still have to pay for dog licenses, according to the Department of Animal Services.

Licenses can range from $12 to $360, depending on the length of the license, whether the animal has been modified, whether the adopter qualifies for senior discounts, and other factors.

Persons residing outside the county will not bear the cost of the license.

There are nearly 600 pets, including 391 dogs, impounded at the Jurupa Valley shelter, while 225 pets, mostly dogs, are housed at the Thousands Palms shelter, officials said.

“We need help right now, and we’re not hesitant to jump at any creative opportunity to promote our homeless pets,” said Erin Gettis, director of the Department of Animal Services. “Right now we have over 700 dogs and cats who need loving families.”

The adoption campaign will end on April 30. More information is available at www.rcdas.org/.

About Patrick K. Moon

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