Hillside SPCA's 'Empty the Shelters' offers reduced pet adoption fees starting Saturday

Sep. 30—Schuylkill County residents can adopt a dog or a cat from Hillside SPCA for a reduced fee starting Saturday as part of a weeklong nationwide event.

As a part of "Empty the Shelters," sponsored by Bissell Pet Foundation, Hillside is one of 280 participating shelters that seek to find loving homes for pets by making it more affordable. During the event, adoption fees will be reduced to $50 for dogs and $25 for cats.

According to Sherrie Schafer, Hillside SPCA manager, the normal cost to adopt a dog is $250 for those six months and older, $300 for puppies up to six months, and $75 for senior dogs 8 years and older.

This is the first time Hillside is taking part in the event, which runs from Oct. 1 through Oct. 8, and they are one of only two in the state to be invited to participate, along with the Animal Rescue League of Berks County, in Birdsboro.

Prospective pet parents must fill out paperwork and meet qualifications. Those interested can submit an application by going to www.hillsidespca.com or visiting the North Manheim Twp. shelter at 51 SPCA Road.

"The main reason we are running (the adoption event) is because we are so full," Schafer said. "We have a waiting list of dogs and cats waiting to come in."

There are currently 70 dogs and 220 cats as of Thursday at the shelter, ready to be adopted, according to Schafer.

She said the pace of adoptions has slowed considerably since peaking during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lately, only two or three dogs and about five cats are adopted each week.

Schafer believes the the current economic climate is the main reason for the decrease in adoptions, and she hopes the adoption event will bring more people out to meet some of the pets at the shelter.

Here are some of the pets ready to be adopted:

—Maggie, a 6- or 7-year-old pit bull mix, came to the shelter as a stray and sadly has not left. "Maggie is very loyal," Schafer said, adding that she is good with other dogs and cats but needs an owner who will spend time with her and be patient.

—Edgar is a 6-year-old pit bull mix also up for adoption and has been at the shelter for almost a year. Schafer said he's great with people and has a sunny disposition. "He's just a goof," she said.

—Roxanne, a pit bull around 2 years old, is great with cats but not so good with dogs. She was surrendered by her owner after they lost their home and has been at the shelter for about a month. "She's very energetic. She definitely needs an active family," Schafer said.

—Valcor is a senior dog between 7 and 8 years old. He is described as being a "couch potato." His family could not afford to care for him, so he's been at the shelter since January. He's OK with dogs but not with cats.

—Banjo, a 2-year-old pit bull, needs some special love because his eyesight is going and he is deaf. He came to the shelter with his sisters who have since been adopted.

—Bam Bam is one of many cats that need adopted. The 3-year-old domestic cat loves solitude.

—Zsa Zsa, an 8- or 9-year-old domestic shorthair cat, had previously been at the shelter but was brought back due to living circumstances. "She likes to snuggle a lot," Nora Schultz, an employee said.

Schafer said a goal hasn't been set for how many pets they would like to see adopted, but more is better.

She said she appreciates the community support for the shelter.

Contact the writer: amarchiano@republicanherald.com; 570-628-6023