OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — Oakland Animal Services is calling on the public to adopt a dog this weekend to ease crowding at the shelter and potentially save an animal’s life. From Thursday, Jan. 12 through Monday, Jan. 16, OAS will be extending hours and waiving adoption fees in an effort to find homes for 50 big dogs by Monday.

The shelter is calling on the community to adopt a dog to help ease the overcrowding, which OAS said has “become an epidemic for shelters across the country,” in a news release Tuesday.

“Oakland dog intake has been increasing over several months,” the release continued. “In 2022, OAS took in 555 more dogs compared to the same period in 2021.” As a result, the shelter now has an urgent need to find homes for 50 big dogs in order to stave off the need to euthanize them.

OAS said it has decreased euthanasia for dogs by 67% and hasn’t had to euthanize a dog for space since 2019. But with the current situation at the shelter, that status may be in jeapordy.

“OAS is asking the community to save an animal’s life by adopting a dog,” the press release states. “Those who want to help out but cannot adopt are encouraged to foster a pet, which will help address the immediate crowding crisis.”

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“The changes we have made in the last three years, as well as the tremendous community support that we have received, has made it possible to achieve the lowest euthanasia rate for dogs in OAS’s history in 2022. We’re asking for people to step up in a big way to help our dogs now,” said Ann Dunn, Director of Oakland Animal Services.  

In addition to waiving fees, the shelter will be extending adoption hours from noon until 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 12 and Friday Jan. 13 to Monday, Jan. 16, from noon to 5 p.m.