Staff members at the Wayne County Animal Adoption and Education Center are hoping to find forever homes for all of the shelter's dogs and cats during this year's Clear the Shelter event.

The adoption event will take place Aug. 18 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

"Last year was our first time doing the national event," said Frank Sauls, manager of Wayne County Animal Services. "It was brought to our attention that it was an ongoing thing, and we wanted to be part of it."

When the staff at the animal shelter opened the doors last year, the line of those wanting to adopt had already wrapped around the side of the building.

Sauls said a total of 85 pets were adopted last year -- about 45 cats and the rest dogs. That included dogs and cats of all ages.

"Some people came in wanting puppies and kittens, some wanted a larger animal," Sauls said. "And some people wanted senior dogs, which is great. Senior dogs need somewhere to be for their twilight years."

But finding homes for that many animals gave the shelter staff just long enough to do some spring cleaning, and within a week, it was full again.

An additional benefit to getting your pet during Clear the Shelter -- there is no adoption fee. All of the dogs and cats, if they are old enough, will have had their vaccinations and rabies shots.

"And we're going to strive to have everything spayed or neutered for the day of the event," Sauls said.

There will be goodie bag giveaways, too. Any business or individual wanting to donate coupons or products for the bags can drop them off at the shelter before the day of the event.

Potential adopters will be able to take the dog or cat they want to a play area to interact with it before taking it home.

Everyone will be required to fill out an application first.

"We will check people to make sure they don't have any prior history of crimes against animals and also check them in our software system to make sure they've not been put on our 'do not adopt' or 'do not rescue' lists," Sauls said. "We strive to do what we can on our end to make sure that the animal has a great home."

Anyone planning on adopting that day will need to have an ID, and those who rent their home will also need to have a rental agreement stating they can have an animal.

"If not, at that point, we have to call and verify it," Sauls said. "If we can't get up with their landlord, we can't let them adopt."

Sauls is asking those who definitely want to adopt a pet that day to take their own leash.

"And run to the pet store first and pick up some pet food and other items for your dog or cat," he said.

Sauls said last year's Clear the Shelter was an exhausting, but great, day.

"It's a great opportunity to get animals homes that might not necessarily get a home," he said. "Not only are you giving an animal a chance, but you're giving yourself a chance, too.

"These pets here, a lot of them come from places where they weren't taken care of, and they deserve a chance, whether they were abused or just running loose. They deserve an opportunity for somebody to reach down and pet them and show them love, take them in and show them what a good home is."

For more information about Clear the Shelter, call the Wayne County Animal Adoption and Education Center at 919-731-1439.