'Tent' sale offers free pets to help Pima County pet shelter - Tucson News Now

'Tent' sale offers free pets to help Pima County pet shelter overcrowding

Pets in the shelter's tent are free with a $15 licensing fee. Pets in the main shelter are $30 with an additional discount available. Pets in the shelter's tent are free with a $15 licensing fee. Pets in the main shelter are $30 with an additional discount available.
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TUCSON, AZ -

It's a tent sale like you've never seen in Tucson before.

The Pima Animal Care Center is seriously overcrowded with adult dogs, about 550 of them.

In the main shelter there can be three dogs per kennel.

Some kennels have had to be split in two to make more room.  

Plus, puppy and kitten season is just starting.

So the center says every dog in its tent is free, with a $15 licensing fee.

We walked all through the kennels on Monday and saw so many beautiful animals.

There were little tiny things that can sit in your lap, and big dogs that deserve love too.

Dogs in the main shelter spill over into the new tent that was erected to deal with overcrowding, but that's crowded too.

Part of the overcrowding problem is due to the Pima County animal shelter's policy of not turning away pets, even sick ones.

"We've been able to medically treat a lot of pets that, in the past, would have been euthanized in the shelter, but not any more, which has added to our overcrowding because we are putting all efforts toward saving lives," says Pima Animal Care Center Live Release Manager Justin Gallick.

People already are coming out to choose a new best friend.

Tucsonans Emily Derickson and her mom, Jenny Lehmann, know just what they're looking for, and why they're at the shelter.

"I'm here to rescue a dog and save a life because I don't know how else to help out. And I'm really looking forward to getting the opportunity to help someone and help that dog that we get," Emily says.

"There are so many strays and there are so many dogs here that need a home. We'd like to give one of them a home. Breaks your heart just walking through," says Jenny.

If you're not sure just what sort of pet you want, the center says its volunteers and staff can help.

"They'll have them fill out a quick questionnaire to kind of give them an overview of their lifestyle and what they're looking for in a pet, and then maybe help them go through and select the right pet, discuss any concerns or reservations that the family may have and just really try to make that right match. That's the most important part of it," Gallick says.

In the main shelter, the pets are $30 each, and you get to draw from a basket to get an even bigger discount.

Whether you get a pet from the main shelter or from the tent next door to the shelter, each pet is spayed or neutered, has all its shots and comes with a microchip.

The tent sale goes on through Sunday.

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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