Clear the Shelters 2016 – A Doggone Success!

There were lots of smiles, hugs and even some happy tears as hundreds of animals were adopted at the County’s three animal shelters for Clear the Shelters day Saturday. At the end of the day, 304 animals were adopted, an increase of 16 animals over last year. The total compares to 49 adoptions the previous Saturday.

This is the second year in a row that nearly a dozen local shelters took part in this NBC-sponsored event. Together, the final tally of adopted animals reached 777. A number of cities around the country joined the push to give every shelter animal a home by offering low-cost or free adoptions.

The County’s three shelters waived its fees and offered animals a free spay or neuter, a microchip, vaccinations and a free veterinary exam. Despite the day’s warm temperatures, thousands of visitors stopped by the three locations located in Bonita, Gaines Street in San Diego and Carlsbad. Some started waiting in line at 6 a.m.

By 1:30 p.m., dozens of animals already had new forever homes.

“These numbers are incredible,” said County Animal Services Director Dawn Danielson, halfway through the day. “160 animals and still hours to go.”

One volunteer at the shelter in Bonita burst into tears of happiness when she saw that one of her favorite animals had been adopted. Tiger Lily, a brindle pit bull, had been at the shelter 116 days.

“I’m so happy,” said County shelter volunteer Nancy Lina. “I have a couple of favorites I play with and I always sneak back to play with Tiger Lily.”

Tiger Lily and her new family.
Tiger Lily and her new family.

As Lina talked, the dog’s new owner, Jerry Oleson of Spring Valley, was also overcome with emotion and shed a few tears. By picture time, though, he was again all smiles.

Another family came in planning to adopt a cat but found their missing dog instead. Their pet had been missing since the Fourth of July.

“They had checked the shelter previously but the dog only came to us yesterday,” said County Animal Services Deputy Director Dan DeSousa. “So besides a lot of great adoptions, we also had a great claim (even if they didn’t adopt a cat)!”

The final adoption tally was 172 cats, 111 dogs, 16 rabbits, two turtles, one bearded dragon, one guinea pig and one chicken.

“We had an amazing day! A million thanks to our incredible staff and volunteers for working so hard to make this day successful,” said Deputy Director Laurie Joniaux. “It is so strange to walk through the kennels and see so few animals left.”

Adoption fees for dogs, cats and rabbits at the County shelters typically range from $25 to $69 depending on the animal and the age. County Animal Services also offers promotions on a regular basis. Currently, all kittens and cats are half off through the month of July.

To see which animals are available, visit the County’s adoption webpage or call (619) 767-2675.


Tracy DeFore is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact