In an effort to combat shelter overcrowding and find pets forever homes, Fort Bend County commissioners approved a pet adoption incentive program at a June 11 meeting.

What residents need to know

Led by Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers, the animal adoption incentive program will encourage pet adoption for the first 250 dogs and 75 cats adopted upon the program’s upcoming launch, according to a news release from Meyers’ office.

The program is set to invest $137,750 to provide vouchers for a one-year supply of pet food as well as flea, tick and heartworm medication, according to agenda documents.
Additionally, all adoptable pets will be spayed or neutered, have their rabies vaccinations and a microchip, according to agenda documents.

By the numbers

Seeing shelter numbers as high as 250% of its capacity, the Fort Bend County Animal Shelter has been overcrowded like many other shelters across the nation and has been forced to limit the number of strays it can care for, according to agenda documents.

As of the most recent update at the end of April, the shelter housed 168 dogs, despite having the capacity for 90 dogs.
According to agenda documents, animal welfare advocates estimate the cost of each animal in shelter care at $60 a day, which Meyers said becomes drastically more costly than providing resources for community members to adopt the animals.

“I don’t like simply warehousing animals in cramped conditions for extended periods. Let’s prioritize finding loving homes for these dogs and cats,” Meyers said in the release. “Motivating potential pet owners by offering essentials like food and medicine is far more economical than investing millions to build larger shelters to warehouse more animals.”

Looking ahead

With the commissioners' approval, coordination of the program is now underway. Though an exact launch date has not been established, the program should be up and running soon, said Dennis Spellman, Fort Bend County Precinct 3 media relations and external engagement manager, in an email.