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Pet adoption fees waived for military, veterans

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RANCHO SANTA FE, Calif. — The Helen Woodward Animal Center will honor those who’ve served this Veterans Day by waiving adoption fees for military families starting Friday, and county of San Diego shelters will follow suit this weekend.

The Helen Woodward Animal Center and the nonprofit Animals for Armed Forces Foundation have teamed up to host the third “Animals for Armed Forces 3- Day Event,” in which approved current, former or retired members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and National Guard and their immediate family members can pick out a pet free of charge.

“The incredible men and women who serve our country protect the lives of our citizens and by adopting, they save the lives of an orphan pet,” Animal Services Manager Ed Farrelly said. “In return, that pet gives them a lifetime of love, devotion and gratitude.”

Eligible veterans are required to bring photo identification, and either a military ID, a DD-214 or NGB-22 form.

During a similar promotion for Memorial Day, military families adopted 61 pets from the Helen Woodward Animal Center, officials said. The center also sends some of its animals to comfort veterans at the VA Hospital in La Jolla and the Hawthorne Veteran and Family Resource Center in Escondido.

County Animal Services has also partnered with Animals for Armed Forces to waive adoption fees for military members and their families Saturday and Sunday. The county’s three animal shelters in Bonita, Carlsbad and San Diego are closed on Veterans Day.

Adoptions made through the county will include vaccinations, spaying or neutering, microchips, licensing and a free veterinary exam within the first 10 days, officials said.

“It’s important to remember all of the sacrifices made by veterans, active military and their families to keep us safe,” county Animal Services Director Dawn Danielson said. “This is our way of saying thank you for all they do.”