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Editorial: Great time to make a new, furry friend

Have you been considering adding a four-legged furry friend to your family recently? If so, now is a great time to do so at the Humane Society of Harford County.

Earlier this week, the humane society announced it was waiving dog adoption fees until further notice, as the nonprofit's kennels were nearly filled to capacity. The shelter is also participating in the third annual Maryland 2,000 adoption event, in which it and 20 other shelters in the state have waived adoption fees for cats and kittens during the month of July.

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Since Monday, the humane society has seen several animals adopted, placed in rescues or reclaimed by their owners. As of Thursday afternoon, it had four open dog kennels on the adoption floor and three open kennels in the veterinary department, said Erin Long, a spokeswoman for the shelter. However, since Monday, the shelter has also taken in three dogs surrendered by their owners and 16 dogs have come in as strays.

That means space is still tight and that presents a challenge for shelter staff to find room for any additional stray dogs brought in by animal control or unwanted dogs relinquished by their owner.

Typically, dog adoption fees are $250 for puppies less than a year old, $160 for dogs 1 to 5 years old, $95 for dogs 6 to 9 years and $35 for dogs 10 years and older. Waiving the fees is quite an incentive to consider adopting from the humane society.

Of course, there are plenty of other reasons to adopt your pet from a shelter. For starters, you're potentially saving a life. Nationwide, 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized each year, according to The Humane Society of the United States.

The Humane Society of Harford County boasted a strong 93 percent live release rate in 2018 — the highest in the shelter’s 72-year history — which represents the percentage of animals who left the shelter alive by adoption, returned to its owner or transferred to a rescue. Certainly, we’d all like to see that number even closer to 100 percent, and choosing to adopt a shelter animal will help.

You'll also pay less by adopting a pet from a shelter than you will paying for purebred pets sold for profit. Fees that you do pay help cover a portion of the shelter's operating costs.

By adopting a pet, it doesn't just help the dog or cat you take home, it also helps make room for other animals in need of care at the shelter.

Even if you're not in a position to adopt right now, there are still ways you can help out your local humane society.

On Saturday, the Grand Guardian Council of Maryland Job’s Daughters International will be hosting their 3rd Annual Wags and Tags Rescue Ride and Chili Cook-off, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting animals at the Humane Society of Harford County.

On Aug. 2, the Level Volunteer Fire Company will host the humane society's seventh annual basket bingo fundraiser there. And on Sept. 5, the fifth annual Putts Fore Paws golf tournament benefitting the shelter will take place at Bulle Rock.

Details for these events, as well as pets available for adoption, can be found at www.HarfordShelter.org. Interested adopters can fill out an adoption application online and bring it to HSHC to get approved.

The Humane Society of Harford County, 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.

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