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Animal shelter hosts Countdown to the Holidays

December 12, 2018
By MELISSA BILL ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Children and grown-ups are not the only ones hoping to be on Santa's wish list this year. Many pets are available and ready for adoption at the Lee County Domestic Animal Services, which is currently hosting its Countdown to the Holidays.

According to Karen Fordiani, public information specialist Lee County Domestic Services, this is an important initiative for animal services and the first year they have held the holiday event.

"We typically don't reduce our fees during the holidays, but had such a great response for our shared shelter event called 'Clear the Shelter' held in August. The event really shined a spotlight on all the amazing pets that each shelter had to offer. You can even find pedigree dogs," said Fordiani. "We also had a very low pet return. People are adopting for the right reasons, not just the reduced price."

Fordiani said that so far the event is doing very well and has become a great way for adoptable pets and families to kick-off the New Year.

"We encourage people to make this a family outing. The kids get to pick one of the doors on our adoption 'Countdown to the Holidays' calendar. Under each magnetic ornament is a reduced adoption fee ranging from $50 to as low as $15. It's been a fun experience for the kids," said Fordiani.

All adopted pets will go home with a new toy and bed, said Fordiani, and there is more than just canines and felines at the shelter.

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"Right now we have a couple of new bunnies in and ready for adoption," added Fordiani.

The adoption fee for all pets includes: spay/neuter surgery, age-appropriate vaccinations, flea treatment, deworming, heartworm test for dogs 6 months or older, feline aids and leukemia test for cats, a Lee County license for pets 3 months or older, microchip pet ID, and a 10-day health guarantee. The total adoption package is valued at more than $500.

Another added bonus for adoptees is access to a certified trainer who works with all of the pets who come into shelter.

"We have a certified trainer that comes here and works with our volunteers, so they can work with each pet before getting adopted. They teach them all the basic commands and our trainer is even available for follow up classes after the pets leave our facility," explained Fordiani.

According to Fordiani, the holiday adoption event is also in response to an increase in cat intakes this year.

"Usually we see a decrease in the winter months but due to the hotter weather, our cat populations continue to grow," said Fordiani. "We have seen an increase in feline surrenders, too."

Animal Services is the only facility in Lee County that can take in stray, domestic animals. This allows each animal to be properly assessed and scanned for ID chips.

"We check all of the animals that come and make sure they don't have an owner on file. Once we determine their situation, we transfer them out to our rescue partners such as Big Hearts for Big Dogs, Senior Paws and Gulf Coast Humane Society or stay in foster homes while waiting to be rescued," said Fordiani.

According to Fordiani, the work that rescues and shelters have done throughout the year is making a difference.

"People are really starting to become more aware and resistant to buying a puppy from a pet store. In fact, mutts tend to be a healthier option to pedigrees, which are more likely to have bad traits bred into them," said Fordiani.

For more information about the pets available for adoption or to complete an online adoption application, visit Also visit the center's Facebook page or Instagram @leeanimalservices. The adoption center is open 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, at 5600 Banner Drive in Fort Myers.

Lee County Domestic Animal Services is always in need of donations from the community.



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