For the remainder of April, the Riverside County Department of Animal Services will waive most fees for pets adopted from the Western Riverside County Animal Shelter in Jurupa Valley and the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms.

The “BarkChella” free pets campaign began Thursday, intended to coalesce with the excitement associated with the return of the Coachella Music & Arts Festival, featuring two weekends of entertainment at the Empire Polo Club in Indio.

“Thousands of music fans come our way, so why not boost the profile of our pets and the need for adopters?” Coachella Valley Animal Campus Director Jackie Schart said. “Come for the music, leave with a forever friend.”

The fest was suspended in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus public health lockdowns placing constraints on crowd sizes.

BarkChella will provide visitors to either shelter an opportunity to select a pet without paying adoption fees, spay/neuter fees, vaccination and microchip costs. However, county residents will still be required to pay for dog licenses, according to the Department of Animal Services.

Licenses can run anywhere from $12 to $360, depending on the duration of the license, whether the pet has been altered, whether the adopter qualifies for senior discounts and other factors.

People who reside outside the county won’t bear the license cost.

There are nearly 600 pets, among which are 391 canines, impounded at the Jurupa Valley shelter, while 225 pets, most of them dogs, are housed at the Thousands Palms shelter, officials said.

“We need help right now, and we’re not bashful about jumping on a creative opportunity to promote our homeless pets,” Department of Animal Services Director Erin Gettis said. “Right now, we have more than 700 dogs and cats that need loving families.”

The adoption campaign will conclude on April 30. More information is available at www.rcdas.org/.

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