In an effort to make adopting animals from the Hesperia Animal Shelter more affordable, the city is trying a tactic familiar to retailers: the two-for-one discount.


At Tuesday's meeting, the Hesperia City Council approved a one-year pilot program that will allow residents adopting two animals to pay just one fee. Prior to Tuesday's vote, it cost $50 to adopt each cat or $65 for each dog. (State law also requires a $40 deposit for any animals too sick or too young to be immediately spayed or neutered.)


"Every year, in spring, we get inundated with kittens," Animal Control supervisor Suzanne Edson said Wednesday. "We call it Kitten Season. ... Many of them, unfortunately, get euthanized, because we just don't have enough people to adopt them, especially in these economic times."


Between July 2009 and June 2010, 7,540 animals were dropped off at the shelter, according to documents provided to the city council. Seven hundred and seventy-nine were returned to their owners, and 2,123 went to other homes or were placed with rescue groups -- but 4,638 were euthanized.


"We wanted to test this and see if it does result in getting more animals out of the shelter," Scott Priester, the city's Director of Development Services, said Wednesday. "If it's effective, we'll take a resolution to [the council] next year to make this effective on a permanent basis."


The reduced fees, in theory, will be offset by the city not having to pay the expense of feeding and housing the extra animals.


The council approved the pilot program, 5-0.


The new two-for-one adoption fees are effective immediately. The fee includes the first set of vaccinations for the animal, a bag of food, a free spaying or neutering and an identification microchip, if requested.


The next regular meeting of the Hesperia City Council will take place on June 7 at 6:30 p.m. at Hesperia City Hall, 9700 Seventh Avenue.


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.