For the second year in a row, the Atlantic County Animal Shelter in Pleasantville is taking part in a nationwide, one-day program of free animal adoptions.

Their "Clear the Shelters" initiative, at which 34 dogs and 43 cats were adopted last year, runs Saturday, July 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kathy Kelsey, who manages the shelter, said more than 100 people showed up in 2015, taking advantage of summer being a "great time to adopt."

"The Clear the Shelters event really does aim to connect animals in need with loving families," Kelsey said. "We want to promote the importance of shelter adoptions."

Atlantic County has 35 dogs and 80 cats available to take home this year, just a fraction of the thousands of shelter animals across the country looking for forever homes. And even though all fees are waived on this day, Kelsey said the shelter is still following all normal protocol.

"All the animals that will be available that day will be fully vaccinated, they'll be spayed or neutered, they'll be microchipped, and they'll be released with a voucher for a free veterinary consultation and exam," she said.

Allowing for the fact that adoption is often not a one-day process, Kelsey said some people have already started looking at the shelter's selection of potential pets, in advance of the 23rd. But she emphasized that it is important for shelters to be able to match animals to the appropriate families, no matter the special promotion that may be involved.

"We don't feel that just any home is appropriate," she said. "We're going to make sure that we're doing good counseling and facilitating meaningful adoptions that day."

In addition to its services related strictly to adoptions, the Atlantic County Animal Shelter also provides dog obedience classes, in part to reduce the likelihood that a family will feel a need to return their new pet.

For more information on "Clear the Shelters," call (609) 485-2345.

Patrick Lavery anchors and produces newscasts across all dayparts for New Jersey 101.5. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.

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