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With kennels nearing capacity, Harford County humane society is waiving adoption fees for dogs

The Humane Society of Harford County is waiving dog adoption fees until further notice, the nonprofit announced Monday, as its kennels are nearly filled to capacity.

“If you’ve been thinking of adding a furry friend to your family, now is the time,” said Jen Swanson, executive director of The Humane Society of Harford County, said in a prepared statement. “We’re also extending an open invitation to all area rescue groups to visit and take animals into their programs.”

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Dog adoption fees range based on the animal’s age, from $250 for puppies less than a year old to $35 for dogs 10 years and old.

As of Monday afternoon, the humane society had just one of its 44 dog kennels in the adoption area vacant and just one dog kennel open for new arrivals in the staff-only area of the shelter, according to Erin Long, a spokeswoman for organization.

This presents a challenge for the humane society to find room for any stray dogs brought in by animal control or unwanted dogs relinquished by their owner.

Long said the organization would never turn an animal away if the owner was seeking to relinquish it, but will instead work with the owner to find out why they want to relinquish the animal and see if one of the shelter’s intervention options is a potential solution.

For example, an owner of an animal with behavior issues may be referred to the humane society’s partner Mutt Magic Training, which offers free behavioral consultations on the second and fourth Saturday of each month, Long said.

If the owner can no longer afford their pet, the humane society has a pet food pantry and some other low-cost options to assist them, she said.

“We always want the animal to stay in its home, if at all possible, but if there is no other alternative, of course, they can surrender their pet here,” Long said.

By Tuesday, two animals had been adopted and another reclaimed by its owner, Long said.

The humane society, located at 2208 Connolly Road in Fallston, is open from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

To see pets available for adoption, visit HarfordShelter.org. Interested adopters can fill out an adoption application online and bring it to HSHC to get approved.

If a family already has a dog and is considering adopting another, the humane society says they should be prepared to bring their resident dog or dogs for a "meet and greet" as part of the adoption process.

The summer months are also a busy time for incoming cats and kittens. The Humane Society of Harford County has already teamed up with 20 other shelters statewide to participate in the third annual Maryland 2,000 adoption event. Through the end of July, these shelters are waiving adoption fees for all felines with the collective goal of finding homes for at least 2,000 unwanted cats and kittens.

Although adoption fees are waived, regular adoption procedures apply. Animals adopted from the Harford humane society include a distemper vaccination (DHPP for dogs and FVRCP for cats), canine kennel cough, vaccination, a rabies vaccination (if age appropriate), FeLV (feline leukemia) & FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) testing, de-wormer, flea & tick preventative, a microchip, a free sample of Hill’s Science Diet dry food, and a general exam.

If the animal is not already spayed or neutered, a $50 deposit for a Harford Animal Sterilization Program certificate is required. Adopters will be provided with a certificate for the surgical procedure and a list of participating veterinarians. The fee is refunded upon completion of the procedure within 60 days.

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