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Lee County Domestic Animal Services is participating in a statewide initiative with the BISSELL Pet Foundation and is waiving adoption fees as part of “Empty the emergency shelters.”

The foundation is sponsoring a nationwide call for adoption with its annual Empty the Shelters adoption fee-waived event, which began Monday and runs through July 31. LCDAS will participate alongside more than 390 animal shelters in 44 states. To help shelter animals find loving homes, the foundation is waiving adoption fees at each nationwide event.

“Lee County Domestic Animal Services has been participating in the BISSELL Pet Foundation event for years,” said Lee County spokesman Tim Engstrom. “The organization is one of Animal Services’ great partners and does a great job of raising awareness about the importance of pet adoption across the country.”

Empty the Shelters is the largest funded adoption event in the country, according to the foundation. The event began in 2016 with the goal of encouraging more families to choose adoption. Since its inception, more than 253,000 pets have found homes. Empty the Shelters is the foundation’s largest program and partners with 742 animal welfare organizations in 49 states and Canada to reduce adoption fees.

“It is always a good time for adoption when individuals or families want to bring a pet into their household,” said Engström. “Waiving the adoption fee is a nice incentive to think about adoption now rather than later. The staff and volunteers at Lee County Domestic Animal Services are ready to help you find the perfect new family member.”

Engstrom said LCDAS has been busy as usual this year after a very active spring kitten season. Overall, recent activity has been comparable to last year, with 213 adoptions in May and 206 in May 2023.

When asked why adopting a pet is a fulfilling life choice for those looking to add another member to their family, Engstrom said: “Adding a new pet to the household brings a new dimension of fun and affection. While caring for a pet is a responsibility, the benefits are enormous. A Harvard professor even concluded this year that owning a pet has a positive effect on life expectancy.”

The BISSELL Pet Foundation and LCDAS urge families to educate themselves about the pet they wish to adopt and the adoption requirements.

For more information about adopting or donating to Empty the Shelters, visit www.bissellpetfoundation.org/empty-the-shelters.

LCDAS is located at 5600 Banner Drive in Fort Myers. The adoption center is open Monday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Any interested adopters can find further details online at www.LeeLostPets.com.