By day's end Thursday, Linda Fulmer had more than 80 dogs and nearly 50 cats in the Columbia County Animal Control kennels.
If only she, the animals and the building built to hold 60 dogs comfortably can hold out until Saturday. Instead of opening from 8 a.m. until noon - the shelter's normal Saturday hours - it will be open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. for an all-day adoption fair.
"I've already got extra staff scheduled," said Mrs. Fulmer, the county's animal control manager.
There will definitely be some public interest. Members and supporters of Molly's Militia - a group of people dedicated to adopting animals in shelters - are being asked to go to the shelter and adopt at least one pet, or find someone who can adopt a pet, said Elaine van der Linden, founder of the group.
As part of the group's effort, The Animal Boutique will give a free pet grooming to anyone who adopts an animal at Columbia County Animal Control.
But Saturday will not be the only day for adopting animals from the county kennels. The facility also will be sending about 25 dogs and puppies to the Columbia County Humane Society's adoption day at PetsMart on Robert C. Daniel Jr. Parkway. That event is scheduled for Sunday from noon until 5 p.m.
Columbia County leaders became concerned about overcrowding at the shelter earlier this week - just days after Augusta officials stopped taking animals at the Richmond County shelter after an outbreak of distemper. Now that the shelter may be closed another two weeks, it puts a strain not only on Columbia County's facility but also on other shelters in the area.
"It's just this time of year," said Stacey Plooster, executive director of the CSRA Humane Society. The group's shelter near Lake Olmstead Stadium is full. "It's hard on us because we hate not being able to take the animals in."
It also strains the community, she said.
"It brings into focus the fact that there are so many un-neutered animals in the community," she said, adding the group also will have an adoption day Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at their shelter.
Reach Jason B. Smith at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 115, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Molly's Militia volunteers will take calls to assist any member of the public desiring to adopt an animal at Columbia County Animal Control. The phone numbers are 798-6345, 279-7003 or 278-3968. E-mail may be sent to email@example.com.