THURSDAY, FEB. 16, 2017 – Dozens of homeless pets embark on a journey to the fairgrounds early on Friday (Feb. 17) – and their shelter chaperones hope they pets don’t come back.
The county fair – officially called the Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival – has become an annual pilgrimage for Riverside County Animal Services employees and their fuzzy shelter friends since 2013.
An adoption special – just $40 – is offered and that adoption fee still includes vaccinations and a microchip and the dogs have already been altered.
“That means the dogs can go home right away with their adoptive families,” Animal Services Director Robert Miller said. “Of course, we can also temporarily hold the dog for the adopters as they continue their fun time at the fair. Each and every year, we’re always pleasantly blown away at how many families at Datefest embrace and adopt one of our shelter dogs.”
Animal Services will be operating the special adoption area during Datefest each day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The large tent is located on the western edges of the fairgrounds.
This year’s Datefest adoption outreach is also a tribute event. The county’s adoption area honors the late John J. Benoit, a Riverside County supervisor for the Fourth District. Supervisor Benoit’s district includes the Coachella Valley Animal Campus, where he frequently visited. Supervisor Benoit and his wife, Cheryl, were inspirational animal advocates and actually adopted a beagle during Datefest three years ago. The couple named the beagle Annabelle.
A banner will be very visible to all visitors to the Animal Services adoption tent area. The banner has these words: The John J. Benoit Memorial Pet Adoption Event. Supervisor Benoit died late last year, on Dec. 26, after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 64.
“John and Cheryl have been wonderful advocates for homeless pet issues in the Coachella Valley,” Miller said. “Naming our adoption area at the fair in John’s honor is our way of remembering this great leader. We’re hoping he is smiling down on us during this year’s Datefest outreach. We certainly miss him.”