Utahns give pets forever homes as part of Clear the Shelters adoption drive

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Cats, dogs and even bunnies were a bargain Saturday for National Clear the Shelters Day.

Shelters throughout Utah and across the nation celebrated the day by letting people adopt pets at low costs or no costs.

On any other day, Salt Lake County Animal Services' dogs can be adopted for $75 to $125. Cats are $25, kittens are $50 and rabbits can be adopted for $35. Saturday, dogs could be adopted at the Salt Lake County shelter at half-price and cats and bunnies were free.

Randee Luker is the rescue and development coordinator at the shelter.

“All animals are spayed or neutered, micro chipped and vaccinated,” Luecker said. “It’s a huge bargain. All of those things at a veterinarian would cost you at least $300.”

Luecker added that adopted pets are often better pets.

“They know you’ve given them a second chance, they’ll thank you every single day," she said. "They can change your life if you let them.”

Carolyn Akin said her life was changed when she discovered a red kitten she’s calling O’Hara, after Scarlett O’Hara.

“This is such a cute kitten,” Akin said. “I think she is wonderful. I’ve actually never seen a red tabby that’s female.”

Akin has this advice for others considering adopting a pet.

“Let the animal pick you, bond with whichever animal wants you,” Akin said. “The most unappealing pet out there will love you and you will love it so don’t go in thinking you want a kitten or puppy and find the animal that’s right you.”

Nanci Byers followed that advice and adopted Nemesis, a cat who is missing part of his ear.

“I just started petting him and he’s just a real cuddle bug and really wanting that love and attention from somebody,” Byers said.

Potential pet owners will have another great opportunity to pick an animal companion. On August 26, Petapalooza will feature pets from 12 shelters across the Wasatch Front. More information about Petapalooza can be found online here.