Oakland Animal Services is holding a special adoption event through this weekend as the organization tries to alleviate overcrowding at its shelter.

The normal adoption fee of $150 is being waived during the event, hours have been extended and staff will be on hand to expedite the adoption process. Oakland Animal Services is seeking to place 50 big dogs in homes during the adoption event, according to Ann Dunn, director of Oakland Animal Services.

The shelter is open from noon to 5 p.m. during the event, which runs through Monday, Jan. 16. It is located at 1109 29th Ave. in Oakland.

“The changes we have made in the last three years, as well as the tremendous community support that we have received, has made it possible to achieve the lowest euthanasia rate for dogs in OAS’s history in 2022. We’re asking for people to step up in a big way to help our dogs now,” Dunn said.

The animal shelter hasn’t had to euthanize a dog for space since 2019, and it needs to adopt 50 big dogs by Monday to avoid that prospect now.

Dunn said the city has seen a dramatic increase in dogs being put up for adoption, with 555 more dogs taken in in 2022 compared to 2021. She said the current spike is being driven by an increase in December, which saw 289 dogs enter the shelter, compared with the recent monthly average of 234.

The shelter has 73 kennels for big dogs, which can be divided into two during an emergency. The shelter currently has 98 big dogs which are considered those over 25 pounds.

Huskies, German Shepherds, Malinois, pit bulls and other breeds are available, Dunn said. She said staff is focusing on matchmaking during the event to help pair adopters with the perfect companion.

Dunn said that Oakland Animal Services has not had to euthanize a dog for space since 2019 but called the need to place 50 dogs in homes by Monday urgent. She said staff is making a nine-point criteria for ranking each dog to assess which would be euthanized if the event fails to place enough dogs.

Fostering a dog for a temporary period can help alleviate the overcrowding if adoption isn’t an option, Dunn said. She said food, crates, leashes and more support is available for the foster program.

“We welcome people from anywhere and we hope people from outside Oakland will come,” Dunn said.