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Mutt Fest organizers highlight need for responsible adoption

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AMARILLO - Mutt Fest is a festive, fun event every year at Memorial Park, but it's not a good time of year for animal shelters.

"Summer is a bad bad time for the shelter because it's really full," Amarillo Humane Society Executive Director Jena McFall said. "This is what we call kitten season. A lot of litters of puppies and kittens are born and a lot of orphaned puppies and kittens."

The SPCA sponsored event is great for spreading the word about the vast amount of homeless pets, but for some the temptation to adopt can be harmful.

Some people come to an event like Mutt Fest, see all the cute canines, and make the move to adopt before they are ready.

"This is a 10-15 year commitment with a dog or a cat, a cat is even longer. This is not something that's disposable," McFall said.

Dogs often take a bigger chunk of a budget and more time than many expect. So the Humane Society recommends giving the decision some serious thought, because with Amarillo having an extremely high pet overcrowding problem for a city it's size, there will be dogs to adopt when the time is right.

"We encourage people to spay or neuter their pets because that's the only way we can reduce the pet overpopulation," SPCA Mutt Fest Co-Chair Mary Ramirez said.

Both the SPCA and the Humane Society offer reduced-price vouchers for spay and neutering.

Sunday's event also had a long line of pets waiting for cheap vaccines. It was a beautiful day for pets to play outside, and a perfect time for a pre-summer reminder.

"70 degrees outside is 118 degrees inside your car. So even if you think you're just going to leave them in there for a minute and run in somewhere, stuff happens and your dog could have a heat stroke really fast," McFall said.

The SPCA and the Humane Society are both in need of volunteers.

The Humane Society most needs volunteers to foster animals, and to drive them to out-of-state rescues.

The SPCA needs volunteers to do just about everything.