Bay Area animal shelters that are full or nearly full are temporarily waiving adoption fees as an incentive to help more pets find their forever home.
This week, the animal shelter in San Martin filled up to the point where some dogs had to share a kennel. Every available kennel for cats was taken, too.
Some of the pets may have been adopted during the pandemic and later surrendered, but that's not the main reason for the recent surge in pets filling up shelters.
"I know that when we hear people wanting to surrender their pets, housing is the issue," County of Santa Clara Animal Services program manager Lisa Jenkins said. "It's really hard to find affordable pet-friendly housing."
That could explain why more big dogs are coming in, Jenkins said.
To free up kennel space, this week the San Martin shelter waived adoption fees for two days and put out a plea for people to foster pets.
Shelter operators say even taking a pet for a few weeks will help, especially with the Fourth of July coming up. The summer holiday is a busy time of year for shelters because so many people bring in pets found roaming the streets after being spooked by fireworks.
"If you're able to hold onto that animal, even for just 48 hours, to try and find the owner, it's a huge help," Jenkins said.