Free adoption event at Rochester Animal Services on Verona Street

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Rochester Animal Services is desperate to have its dogs adopted.

So, it’s looking for the community’s help.

It will be holding a free adoption event Saturday called Pups in the Park.

This may seem like something great for the shelter to offer — but one group has its concerns.

“Honestly I always say, ‘anyone with a pulse can adopt a dog,’” said Maggie Cain, a founder of Voiceless of Verona Street.

The goal of the group is to advocate for the animals at the shelter, and they think this free adoption is a bad idea.

“Our concern is, all these animals that are given away for free — we don’t know who’s actually getting them. They could be used for pit bull fighting, they could be used for other horrible things and/or wind up being dumped on the street or back at the shelter, or locked in a basement, shoved in a cage,” Cain said.

However, the shelter says that that is not something they’re concerned about.

“In our experience, we believe and see that most people are adopting these animals to love them. We will have volunteers and staff on site to make sure that people know about the commitment they’re getting into. Just trying to make sure that this is a good fit for them,” David Langley, community relations and engagement coordinator at Verona Street Shelter, said.

The shelter is desperate to get dogs adopted.

It’s been closed for a couple of weeks because of a kennel cough outbreak and won’t reopen until August 28.

Now, it is dealing with more than double the number of dogs for which it has room.

“The shelter is over capacity for animals, and we are looking for the community to step up and help us make some much needed space in the shelter for animals who need to be there,” Langley said.

Normally when Rochester Animal Services adopts out an animal, it’s been spayed or neutered.

But the shelter says it’s in such crisis that it needs to get the dogs out now.

It recently hired a new vet who is working her way through a backlog of spay and neuter surgeries.

“Some of the dogs will still be intact. People will make an appointment for them to come back and get their animal altered. But yes, some of the animals will be intact — we’re trying to catch up on surgeries right now,” Langley said.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4, in the shelter’s play yard next to Brown Square Park.