BURLINGTON, NC – Thanks to two anonymous donors, 44 animal adoption fees were waived at the Burlington Animal Services.

On December 16th, a family, wishing to remain anonymous, went to the shelter on Stone Quarry Road with a large donation.

“They have been saving up some money for this purpose and they came in so that we could apply it to the adoption fees," explained Jessica Arias, the shelter’s director.

The $795 donation would be enough to cover the adoption fees for 32 dogs and cats. In addition, Friends of Alamance/Burlington Animal Services Heartworm fund donated six months of heartworm prevention for the animals.

Several people went to the shelter in the days that followed, possibly lured by the free option of a new pet. Arias said adoptions fees typically aren't a barrier, but the free option is helpful.

“It’s such a heartwarming thing to do and it’s so kind and it’s just one less expense at the holidays.”

The giving didn’t stop there. Not long after, another anonymous donor sponsored the adoption of 12 cats and/or kittens at the shelter.

It’s an important time to clear out the kennels. Before the donations, 200 animals were waiting for homes. Typically, during the winter months, Arias said, they try to adopt as many animals as possible- to keep the shelter from becoming overcrowded.

“We know in the spring and summer months, that’s our busiest time and we always see a spike in intake due to uncontrolled breeding in cats and dogs,” she explained.

But, it doesn’t mean Arias wants people to make the decision to adopt on a whim. As much as she would like to make room, she would hate to see a family return a pet.

“Take this commitment seriously. A pet is a lifetime commitment. A pet can live anywhere from 10 to 15 years.”

In addition to the money donations, many have given treats, food and toys to the shelter to help fill each pet’s stocking, which goes home with their new family. Once the animals with zero fees are adopted, the shelter will continue to run an adoption special for $25.