CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The annual "Clear the Shelter" event kicked off on Saturday, July 23 at the Southeast Missouri Humane Society in Cape Girardeau.
The shelter adopted out six pets in just the first hour and a half alone.
Vendors were on hand along with plenty of volunteers and staff, including the Cape Girardeau Roller Derby girls and Cape Lacroix Apartment Complex.
256 animals have been turned in to the Southeast Missouri Humane Society so far this month. In June, there were 288 and in May there was 329.
Charlotte Craig, Southeast Missouri Humane Society Board president, said they take in nearly 4,000 animals a year. At the start of Saturday, they had about 50 dogs and 21 cats, making a total of 71 animals.
"These animals come to us through no fault of their own," Craig said. "Usually it's a human issue instead of an animal issue. They're homeless and they need to find homes. We have an awesome adoption rate as it is anyway. Last year our dogs adoption rate was 83 percent. In two years time we have taken cats from 30 percent up to 36 percent."
Craig said he feels that many people aren't getting their pets from pet stores as much anymore and are turning to adopting them through agencies, such as the Southeast Missouri Humane Society.
"The culture has changed from going and purchasing a dog from a breeder or a store," Craig said. "It's completely changed. We're seeing more people choose to adopt. We will have a pure bred dog almost anytime you walk in back there."
The Cape Girardeau Roller Derby team also has an event Saturday night at the A.C. Brass Arena building in which a portion of the proceeds will go to benefit the Southeast Missouri Humane Society.
The "Clear the Shelter" event is held at humane societies nationwide and is in its second year.