Jean Letcher’s office is always a little crazy. After all, she manages the Tulsa Animal Welfare shelter, so she never knows what furry friend she might happen to find herself caring for.
On Thursday, it was a seal point Siamese cat. The feline was lounging comfortably in a cat bed on Letcher’s desk, recovering from a broken pelvis.
It’s all in a day’s work for Letcher, and no day of work is more important to the shelter than Saturday’s Clear the Shelters Day.
“Clear the Shelters is a major adoption event that helps our animals find homes and gives our citizens a day when they can adopt for a reduced fee,” Letcher said. “That helps make room for the animals that will come into TAW next week.
“We want all our animals to go to happy, loving homes and hope that the public won’t forget about us the rest of the year.”
During last year’s event, the city found homes for 63 cats and kittens, 99 dogs and puppies, and two guinea pigs. On Saturday, the shelter will be open from noon to 6 p.m. Adoptions, which usually cost $75 for dogs and $25 for cats, will cost only $10 during the event.
“It will be the same (adoption) process, just on a grand scale,” Letcher said. “Those people who want to see cats we’ll bring in the front doors. Those who want to see dogs, we’ll bring them in the side door directly into the kennels.”
The Animal Welfare Shelter, 3031 N. Erie Ave., is not the only local animal welfare organization taking part in Clear the Shelters Day. Dozens of groups, including the Humane Society of Tulsa and Tulsa SPCA, will have animals available for adoption.
“I think there are about 20 area groups participating,” Letcher said. “There are various and assorted spots, and you can go to the Clear the Shelters website.”
As of Thursday, the city animal shelter had about 100 cats and 75 dogs available for adoption. All adopted animals — if they have not been already — will be spayed, neutered and vaccinated before they will be released to their new owners.
Letcher expects the animals to go quickly. Last year, every animal the shelter had available for Clear the Shelters Day was adopted.
“Last year was incredibly hot, and we had people standing in line for hours,” Letcher said. “I don’t think it will take till 6 (p.m.) to get everybody adopted” this year.
Clear the Shelters Day comes at a good time for local animal shelters. As is common in the summer months, shelters are seeing a spike in the stray dog and cat populations.
Cats breed in the warmer months, Letcher said, and the dog population — while not as prone to sharp increases — will occasionally rise because of accidental litters and backyard breeders who haven’t found homes for their newborns.
“There is not the same kind of seasonality with dogs as there is with cats,” Letcher said.