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DENVER (KDVR) — The Denver Animal Shelter says it is seeing an unprecedented number of homeless animals in need of loving homes right now. If you’re looking to get a pet for the holiday season, now is a great time!

The number of animals in the care of DAS has increased 76% when compared to December 2019.

DAS said the number is even bigger for other types of animals. The amount of rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, birds, reptiles, and turtles looking for new homes has grown 175% compared to the same period in 2019, according to DAS.

So far in 2021, Denver Animal Protection has adopted out 887 dogs, 822 cats and 405 other animals, including rabbits, guinea pigs and turtles.

Here are some of the advantages of adopting, according to the Denver Animal Shelter:

  • You’re saving a life by freeing up limited spots at shelters and rescues to save another pet’s life.
  • You can find a trained pet that’s already housebroken and has basic manners.
  • You’ll know the pet’s personality. Shelters like DAS evaluate a pet’s personality to assure it fits in with your family.
  • Rescue pets are more affordable. They also have all vaccinations and are spayed and neutered.
  • You’ll have a lot of choices. Shelter pets come in all breeds, shapes, sizes, and genders.
  • You’ll help fight puppy mills, which focus on profits with lesser regard for the health and welfare of the animals. Puppy mills in the U.S. are legal, but the majority are not regulated.
  • We make it easy! A list of adoptable pets at DAS is online and updated hourly. Also, many of the lost and stray pets in our care may eventually become adoptable.

If you want to help but you can’t adopt, the Denver Animal Protection said these are some suggestions:

  • Microchip and license your pets. This ensures that if your pet is ever lost, we can reunite you quickly. Most strays at DAS have not been microchipped or licensed and their owners never find them.
  • Sign up to volunteer at DAS.
  • Join our foster program to care for pets in your home when shelter space becomes challenging.
  • Donate! All donations directly help the animals we serve—both at our shelter and in the community.