FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – If you’ve been considering expanding your family to include a furry friend, this holiday season may be the perfect time to adopt. Florence Lauderdale County Animal Services (FLAS) will be one of dozens of shelters nationwide participating in Bissell’s Empty the Shelters event this December.

“Bissell Pet Foundation is a great resource for shelters,” said FLAS Director Cheryl Jones. “Everyone is having more animals in than they ever have before.”

For more than a month, FLAS has been operating over capacity. In October, animal services took in nearly 70 dogs seized by the Lauderdale County Sherriff’s Office in an animal cruelty case.

In December, Bissell will cover many of the fees associated with adoption, making it a more cost-effective option than usual. FLAS has participated in the program for several years now, and Jones said it is a great resource that has a tremendous impact on the animals.

Jones said both the influx of animals and the cold weather has created a lot of need at the shelter.

“We have had to put up kennels in our outside areas, dog houses, straw, shavings, which we also provide to the public if they have animals outside,” Jones said. “We’ve had to turn our hallways into makeshift kennels with crates for some of our dogs to make room for the dogs we are holding.”

If you are unable to adopt at this time, fostering is a temporary way you can help. The shelter is also in need of volunteers to help walk dogs and socialize with the animals.

The shelter is accepting donations, including dog toys, food and shavings. To view the animals currently available for adoption, click here.