Free dog and cat adoptions last weekend of August

Adopting larger dogs and all cats from animal shelters in Fulton and DeKalb counties will be free on the last weekend of August.

LifeLine Animal Project, the nonprofit that operates shelters in both counties, is again joining the annual Clear The Shelters campaign sponsored by NBCUniversal and Telemundo. Through that program, there will be no fee to adopt cats, or dogs weighing 25 pounds or more on Aug. 25-28 thanks to sponsorship by Petco Love.

Petco stores in Alpharetta, Crabapple, East Cobb, Edgewood and Smyrna will be hosting adoptable dogs Aug. 26 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. The event coincides with National Dog Rescue Day.

Adoptions include spay or neuter surgery, vaccination and microchipping — a $300 value, according to Fulton County.

The promotions come as area shelters are packed. There are more than 400 dogs in the main Fulton shelter and the Midtown Atlanta overflow location, according to Tiki Artist, LifeLine public relations manager. That’s about twice what those shelters were built to hold.

The DeKalb shelter has 605 dogs, Artist said — it was designed for 450 animals — and LifeLine staff are having to euthanize animals to clear space “multiple times a week.”

“We are still in crisis mode, sadly,” she said.

Fulton County is building a new $40 million animal shelter with room for 367 dogs and 55 cats, but it won’t open until later this fall.

Local adoption rates have dropped sharply since 2020, according to LifeLine. For every two animals in a shelter there are about three in short-term foster homes. About 80% of the roughly 7,000 animals Fulton County takes in each year are dogs.

Animals ready for adoption or fostering in Fulton and DeKalb shelters can be seen at Donations to the shelters can also be accepted through the website.

LifeLine offers two-week trial adoptions through its Foster to Family program. During that time the potential adopters will have full support from LifeLine’s foster team. If the animal doesn’t fit in or adjust well, it can be returned to the shelter, Artist said. But if a family wants to keep an animal, they can finalize the adoption online.

Even if a family decides not to adopt an animal permanently, they can still foster it until a new home is found.

LifeLine also offers “matchmaking support” to help people find just the right pet to take home.

“If a pet owner does not know what kind of animal they are looking for, our staff is trained to help match them with an animal based on their home, family and lifestyle,” Artist said.

Since its start in 2015 Clear The Shelters has put more than 860,000 pets nationwide into new homes, according to Last year set a new record of more than 161,000 pet adoptions and $540,000 in fundraising.

The program accepts online donations through

For the fifth time, Clear The Shelters will offer online searching for adoptable pets, filtered by breed, gender, size and other factors, through the WeRescue app. Browsers can ask questions and submit applications to local shelters through the app.

To adopt or foster animals go to, or, or go to any of the following locations. No appointment is needed.

  • Fulton County Animal Services, 860 Marietta Blvd. NW, Atlanta
  • LifeLine Animal Project Midtown, 981 Howell Mill Road NW, Atlanta
  • Community Animal Center, 3180 Presidential Drive, Atlanta
  • DeKalb County Animal Services, 3280 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Chamblee