The Lufkin Night Howls event on Saturday will be held in conjunction with the NBC National Clear the Shelter Day at the Kurth Memorial Animal Shelter.

Shelter volunteers hope the events will bring people together with their new four-legged family members.

All adoption fees will be waived and the shelter will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. that day. In years past, they’ve found people lined up waiting outside the door, according to Molly James, a volunteer at the shelter.

Sixty-eight animals found their forever homes during the 2018 event, she said.

Last year, a small German shepherd puppy found his way to the Kurth Memorial Animal Shelter with a severely injured leg. He was rushed to the veterinarian, where his leg was amputated. He was finally well enough to be adopted by the time the Night Howls event hit Lufkin, but watched as families continued to pass him by.

“During the course of the day of the Night Howls event, many folks walked by his kennel and he wagged his tail and proudly showed off on his best three-legged stance,” James said.

“Then a very special family came by and when they saw this little tripod, they knew he would be coming home with them. The two events combined saved this little fellow’s life, and we are indebted to the staff and volunteers for helping to make sure he and his new family found each other.”

While Clear the Shelter is free to the public, it’s not free for the shelter, Leslie Anders said. The no-fee day comes at an expense to the shelter, but they try to plan for it in their budget because it does help so many people connect to the animals.

“Despite that expense, the staff opts to participate in the Clear the Shelter event with the animals and community at heart,” James said.

Night Howls was originally created as volunteers realized the need to bring more people to the shelter on the free adoption day, she said. The volunteers created a vetting fund and thought they could bring additional animal lovers from outside of the shelter to contribute as well.

They’ll be serving a barbecue sandwich plate for a donation of $10 starting at 11 a.m. until they’re sold out. Soft drinks and desserts will be available for $1. There also will be live music, a silent auction and raffles.

“Although there is no adoption fee for this one day only, please remember that there are other responsibilities to take into consideration when having a family companion,” James said. “We would hope that anyone considering adopting during the Clear the Shelter event would take the adoption seriously and would not make any hasty decisions based solely on the waived adoption fee.”

There are many animals who return to the shelter regularly even after adoption, and this event may have some similar results. James said she wants any future pet owners to consider their obligations when they take in a furry family member.

“To have a pet as part of your life is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly, but rather as a privilege to share your life with these that offer us so much love and devotion,” she said.

Jess Huff's email address is jess.huff@lufkindailynews.com.