GAWS announce reduced adoption fees for dogs and cats as shelter hits capacity

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GAWS announce reduced adoption fees for dogs and cats as shelter hits capacity

Geelong Animal Welfare Society (GAWS) are offering reduced adoption fees on dogs, cats and rabbits until October 9 to help find loving homes for hundreds of animals.

Breaking animal lovers’ hearts everywhere, local animal shelter Geelong Animal Welfare Society has revealed that the shelter has reached capacity following the massive decline in dog adoptions.

A decline in dog adoptions is also met with a statewide increase in dog surrenders post-COVID-19 lockdowns, with GAWS revealing that although there has not been a significant change in dogs surrendered to its organisation, the reasons for those surrenders has changed, and the rate of adoptions has in fact declined rapidly.  

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GAWS CEO, Helen Cocks, said the decline in dog adoptions is putting strain on the organisation, staff,  resources and the animals.  

“While there’s a similar amount of dogs coming in compared to previous years, they have more complex training needs and so are staying longer before being adopted to their forever homes. This  means we are running at capacity, with many dogs in GAWS’ care for an increased length of stay being prepared for rehoming,” Ms Cocks said. 

Currently, GAWS has approximately 50 dogs in its care, with cats and small pets overflowing and many animals waiting months to be adopted.  

“Similar to the reasons why people are surrendering, people might be putting off adopting a pet due to the rising cost of living, property restrictions and lack of time to spend with an animal. For those who are in a position and would love a furry companion, we hope they can consider adopting from  GAWS. Not only will it positively impact that animal and their own life, but they will be helping their  local shelter and the many other animals who come through,” Ms Cocks said.  

GAWS has seen a significant change in the reasons for dog surrenders in the past financial year.  Notably, there was an increase in owner homelessness, owner not having suitable accommodation  and animal’s separation anxiety. There was also an increase in animals being rescued from neglectful  situations compared to previous years. The number of people surrendering animals because they  could no longer afford to care or feed them peaked in 2021. 

“The increase in those reasons for surrendering can suggest two main issues – combined economic  and housing pressures of the past three years leading to displacement of people and pets, and deprioritising of pets; as well as workers returning to offices and travel, meaning animals no longer  have the full attention of individuals and families.  

“We are sad for the people, their pets and the circumstances that lead them to surrendering, and we  will always support by way of accepting animals into our care for rehoming, rather than having pet owners and their pets struggling. There is no judgement when pet owners surrender. We want to  promote quality of life,” Ms Cocks said. 

GAWS has joined forces with other Victorian animal welfare organisations in ‘Mission Adoptable’ – a  campaign to find forever homes for as many animals as possible across the state. 

In the Geelong Animal Welfare Society’s aim to find loving homes for as many animals as possible  during ‘Mission Adoptable’, GAWS is offering a fee reduction on dogs, cats and rabbits adopted  between 1-9 October 2022. 

Reduced adoption fees 1-9 Oct 2022: 

Dogs (excludes puppies) 

$200 for medium/large adult dogs (usually $360) 

$250 for small/toy adult dogs (usually $460) 

$90 for senior dogs (usually $100) 

Cats (excludes kittens and special breeds)  

$69 for adult cats (usually $120) 

$45 for senior cats (usually $50) 


$90 for one (usually $120) 

$120 for two  

The usual GAWS adoption procedures apply during the promotion to ensure animals are matched to  the right home. All adoption animals are de-sexed, microchipped, vaccinated and flea & worm  treated. 

People interested in adopting a pet should visit GAWS (325 Portarlington Road Moolap) until October 9 for the opportunity to adopt at a reduced fee and give an animal a new chance  of a happy life.  For more information, visit