Animal lovers in Huntsville have the chance to find their new best friend next Saturday. 

Rita B. Huff Humane Society of Walker County will participate in the annual “clear the shelters” event August 17 from noon to 4 p.m. at the shelter.

“This will be our first year participating in the event. I think this is a great event because it is bringing to light the issue of pet homelessness,” shelter director Lori Tolliver said

Clear the shelters is a national event sponsored by NBC and Telemundo television networks, which started in 2015 to find homes for animals in local shelters. To date, over 250,000 animals have found their forever homes because of the event. However, over 6.5 million animals are taken into shelters each year.

“We have approximately 30 cats and 45 dogs available for adoption,” Tolliver added. “We try to match the animals with the potential owners and their lifestyles, so the application process is crucial to ensure the animals do not return to the shelter.”

Those looking to adopt will have reduced adoption fees, costing $45 compared to the typical fee of $85. Adoption fees include full vetting by a licensed veterinarian, vaccinations, spay or neuter surgery, microchipping, flea treatment and prevention, and heartworm testing and treatment.

“When one decides to adopt an animal, they should be patient with the animal as they adjust to a new environment,” Tolliver said. “It is traumatizing for an animal to end up here, especially if they have been surrendered.”

Throughout the summer, several litters of kittens were taken to the shelter, with many available for the event. However, the community is encouraged to adopt the older animals first because they have been around longer, or may have spent years in shelters.

“Our goal for the event is to have an empty shelter,” Tolliver added. “We hope for a great turnout and to find the perfect forever homes for our animals.”

Visitors will need to have their applications filled out prior to the event. The application and adoption policies can be found at http://www.rbhhumanesociety.org.