The half-price sale at Humane League of Lancaster County worked.
The Route 30 East shelter adopted out a whopping 59 dogs in three days by putting out a call for help to the community and slashing adoption prices 50 percent.
Now just a handful of dogs remain at the kennel.
"On a super, super day, the average number of dogs we adopt is about five," shelter CEO Joan Brown said. "Well, we adopted 59 in just three days."
The shelter has space for about 75 dogs, and a low census last month made it a good time to try to finish maintenance projects on its kennels. But just as employees were about to start a much-needed painting project, a raid on an area breeder's kennel jammed the shelter with 90 more rescued dogs.
"We had been trying for the last several months to paint all our kennels to stay in compliance with state law," Brown said, adding that the state Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement "has been great about working with us and being flexible."
"We were approaching our last reasonable deadline that Dog Law could give us (to paint the kennels) when all these dogs came in," she said.
She considered closing the shelter or other means of handling the situation, Brown said, but she settled on slashing dog adoption prices for the month of January.
From Friday to Sunday, the sale all but emptied the shelter's dog kennels.
Until Jan. 31, puppies under 6 months old cost $87.50, adult dogs from 7 months to 6 years old cost $60 and senior dogs 7 years and older cost $25. Prices include all vaccinations and microchipping.
Brown said the lower prices helped, but the real difference was getting the word out about the need for permanent homes for dogs and the community responding to that need.
"Most people did not come because of the sale but because they were responding to the need," Brown said. "They were responding from their hearts, not from their pocketbooks. A lot of people paid the adoption price and gave us a donation on top of that. For some families, though, the prices did help, and we're glad that was the case."
The effort also gave league employees a chance to sand and paint most of the kennels. Brown said the remaining kennels should be easy to complete now that fewer dogs must be shuffled from kennel to kennel.
Historically, the shelter has fewer dogs and puppies come in over the winter months. But about 9,000 cats and kittens find their way to the shelter annually, so the league typically has ongoing adoption specials for felines.
With the success of the first canine sale and the likelihood more dogs will end up at the league because of new state dog laws, Brown said the league will likely schedule more canine sales.
"I definitely think we will consider it in the future," Brown said. "What's happening this year is the new dog laws and new enforcement is terrific, but because of it, our (dog) census is never low. If we continue to have these large volumes of animals come through while we try to rescue dogs in bad breeding situations from bad kennels, we absolutely will consider doing this again."
On Dec. 20, the Humane League and Bureau inspectors seized 96 dogs from a West Earl Township kennel after an injunction was issued to stop the breeder from operating.
Not all the dogs rescued in the kennel raid were adopted. Some were immediately sent to foster homes, where dogs with emotional and physical problems can be rehabilitated.
For more information about Humane League of Lancaster County, call 393-6551, visit HumaneLeague.com or stop by the shelter at 2195 Lincoln Highway East.