All this month, homeless dogs and cats are being offered for adoption at bottom rates to encourage Riverside County residents to open their hearts and homes to new four-legged friends.

The county’s three operational animal shelters are participating in the “Clear the Shelters” event, during which abandoned and neglected dogs and cats are available to take home, according to Department of Animal Services spokesman John Welsh.

Adoption fees have been slashed to a base rate of zero, Welsh said. Typical fees for dogs run $105, while cats cost $25.

The fees include spay/neuter surgeries, rabies vaccinations and microchipping. Prospective pet owners who reside in unincorporated areas will still be required to purchase dog licenses, which are $25 apiece.

License fees vary in cities countywide.

Prospective pets are available at the Blythe Animal Shelter, the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms and the Western Riverside County Animal Shelter in Jurupa Valley. The San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus remains closed due to budget constraints.

At the Jurupa Valley facility, 479 dogs, 278 cats, 21 birds, 17 livestock and 15 “pocket pets” are available to adopt. At the Coachella Valley location, 140 dogs and 115 cats are available. No figures were available for Blythe.

“Our shelters have been experiencing a high volume of pets for months,” Department of Animal Services Director Erin Gettis said. “For as many adoptions and transfers to rescue partners, almost the same number of stray pets arrive daily. If we can truly clear the shelters this month, we’re going to need the public’s help to stop the flow.”

Pets can be viewed via www.rcdas.org/petharbor/secured_PetHarbAdoptSearch.html.

The event, now in its eighth year, will continue until Aug. 31.

Welsh noted that refundable deposits will be required — $75 for dogs, $40 for cats — if the adopted pets are unaltered. The deposits will be returned to adopters after the pets are spayed or neutered.

More information is available at www.ClearTheSheltersFund.org.

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