Homeless dogs and cats will be offered for adoption Saturday at rates that visitors can decide for themselves to encourage Riverside County residents to open their hearts and doors to one or two new four-legged friends.

The county’s largest animal shelters will participate in the “Clear the Shelters” event, during which abandoned and neglected cats and dogs will be available to take home under a new “name-your-adoption-donation” program, which gives adopters the discretion to pay what they feel is appropriate.

“Somebody could come in and make a 50-cent adoption donation, but we’re hoping folks will be a bit more generous,” Department of Animal Services public information officer John Welsh told City News Service. “You’re talking about adding a member to the family. What’s that worth? It’s got to be worth more than a few bucks.”

Typical adoption fees for dogs run $105, while cats cost $25.

Welsh said the name-your-adoption-donation is intended to make it easier to select a pet in need at a price that’s comfortable. Previous Clear the Shelters events have listed pets at $4.52, but Welsh said the new program will take some of the hassle associated with hunting for pocket change.

This is the fifth year the Department of Animal Services will be involved in the adoption bonanza, which draws large crowds.

“This event has brought hundreds of adopters to our shelters in past years — and we’re hopeful we’ll see the same results on Saturday,” said Dr. Allan Drusys, the agency’s director and chief veterinarian. “We are always pleasantly surprised by the large turnout of people wanting to adopt.”

According to Welsh, about 1,300 cats and dogs have been adopted in the previous events.

The following county facilities will participate:

— Coachella Valley Animal Campus, 72120 Pet Land Place, Thousand Palms;

— San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus, 581 S. Grand Ave.; and

— Western Riverside County Animal Shelter, 6851 Van Buren Blvd., Jurupa Valley.

All the shelters generally will be in operation between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Welsh emphasized that while adoption fees are discretionary, spay/neuter, microchipping and licensing fees will still apply before a pet goes out the door.

Nearly 700 shelters throughout the nation are expected to take part in Clear the Shelters.

The event is part of a national adoption campaign supported by the NBCUniversal-owned television stations.

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