News & Politics

Humane Rescue Alliance Is Discounting Pet Adoption Rates This Weekend

The shelter is at capacity and is offering 50 percent-off adoption fees.

Chaka, a one-year-old pup, is up for adoption at the Humane Rescue Alliance. Photograph courtesy of the Humane Rescue Alliance.

The Humane Rescue Alliance (HRA) is seeing a surge of pets in their shelters this year. To encourage people to take on a furry friend, their two DC adoption centers near Manor Park and Ivy City are discounting fees by 50 percent through Sunday, April 16.

Adoption and rescue centers around the country have been overwhelmed throughout the pandemic, but adoption rates have drastically declined this year, according to HRA representatives. In the first week of April, they took in 90 dogs; only 17 were adopted. The same week in 2022, they took in 59 dogs and 40 were adopted. 

“I think the economy has a lot to do with people being forced to give up their pets,” says Maureen Sosa, HRA’s director of pet support and adoption. She’s worked with owners who’ve been forced to surrender their pets because they had to move somewhere more affordable, and those places have breed or size restrictions. And pet-related bills aren’t immune from rising prices, either. The cost of pet food in March was 14.4 percent higher than it was a year ago, according to the consumer price index

Another big factor: Spaying and neutering procedures were halted at the beginning of the pandemic. Sue Bell, executive director of Homeward Trails in Virginia, says dogs were “reproducing prolifically.” Even after those services resumed, the shortage of medical grade gloves impacted how many procedures a shelter could perform. Now, they’re overwhelmed with puppies. The animal rescue’s Trails UP program, which provides free and subsidized spaying, neutering, and medical care for owned dogs, has successfully spayed/neutered over 1,200 dogs in the last 15 months. 

Right now, Sosa is hoping to find a home for one of her favorite new additions, Lightning Bug. This small pitbull-mix came in a few weeks ago weighing 23 pounds–he should have been at least 40. Even after arriving skin and bones, Sosa says he’s “sweet as can be,” and is trying to find a family that will be able to help him gain weight.

“[Lightning Bug] really just reminded me that we don’t even deserve animals, and how amazing they can be,” she says. “He’s just an incredible dog.”

Lightning Bug is looking for a home that can help him get back to a healthy weight. Photography courtesy for the Humane Rescue Alliance.

For owners who’re struggling to afford pet expenses, HRA runs pet pantries with free food, and vaccine clinics where owners can get their dog’s shots for a lower cost.  Times and locations for their pet pantries are listed on their website, as are the appointments for vaccine clinics. 

For those who can’t offer a forever home, shelters are always looking for fosters. To apply to be either a foster or adopt, an applicant just has to be 18 years old and have a valid ID.

“We can kind of work with everyone from there,” says Sosa.

Editorial Fellow

Keely recently graduated with her master’s in journalism from American University and has reported on local DC, national politics, and business. She has previously written for The Capitol Forum.