PLEASANTON -- How much is that puppy in the window?
The answer this month in Pleasanton is: How much do you want to pay?
For those looking to find a furry friend at the Valley Humane Society during August, visitors can pick their own price -- be it a penny or $500.
Either way, the trial program lasts all month long, and there are dozens of pets available for adoption.
"Fees can be a barrier for getting animals to good homes," said Melanie Sadek, the society's executive director. "We want things to be fun. And, just because you can pay, doesn't necessarily mean you will value it more."
Sadek said the idea came from a conference she attended where another humane society in Asheville, N,C, reported its "name your pet's price" was so successful for certain pets, it became their permanent policy.
Anara Brimnere of the Asheville Humane Society said cats over six months and more unusual pets like parakeets and guinea pigs can be harder to adopt out, but with a price tag that patrons get to choose, it helps the animals find homes more quickly.
Any price you pay to pick out your favorite dog or cat is tax deductible, Sadek added, and all pets are typically vaccinated, dewormed, without fleas and even microchipped.
Normal adoption fees for Valley Humane are $150 for cats and $200 for dogs.
The "Price Is Right" option for cats and dogs at Valley Humane Society is a relatively unique concept in the Bay Area.
According to Dinah McFarlane of the Animal Rescue Foundation in Walnut Creek, while their organization has reduced or low costs for adopting animals, they have never done anything like what Sadek has implemented this month.
The new program will also hopefully help a majority of the animals get adopted out by September when the shelter's floors are to be redone.
Sadek said when the structure was built, the floors were not done properly. September will bring loud noises as jack hammers chip away the old floors to make room for new ones, and workers will be pounding away with hammers and other tools.
The loud noises will definitely scare the animals, and if most of the kittens and cats are not adopted by that time, Sadek said the humane society will be looking for temporary homes for the animals.
According to Sadek, the shelter has a return rate of less than 5 percent, while most shelters have between a 5 to 10 percent return rate.
And with cats like 4 month-old Sassy, a calico that mews loudly and paws at you until you hold her, or dogs like Dixie, a roughly 6-month-old sheperd/collie mix that is the definition of gentle, the shelter is hopeful there are no problems finding their animals permanent homes.
Contact Katie Nelson at 925-847-2164 or follow her on Twitter at Twitter.com/katienelson210