Gabriela Perez knew Brodie would make a great addition to her family. The mix Russell Terrier, only a few months old, giggled his tail with happiness as he walked besides his new owner. Both owner and pet sat outside the Palm Valley Animal Center and waited for the animal Candle light Vigil held earlier this month.

Brody is one of 40,000 animals placed in animal shelters in Hidalgo County. He is also one of the lucky ones. This year alone, over 18,000 animals have been humanely euthanized in Hidalgo County.

Perez decided to adopt Brodie because she knows it is important to adopt pets. “He grabbed my attention when I first saw him,” she said. “I lost two of my dogs earlier this year, so I wanted to adopt another one,” Perez said about her mix Russell Terrier.

The Palm Valley Animal Center celebrated National Homeless Animal’s Day this month by remembering the homeless animals that lost their lives due to pet overpopulation in shelters across the United States.

Shannon Farrell-Ponce, director of community outreach at PVAC said out of the 40,000 animals the PVAC receives annually approximately 37,000 of them are humanely euthanized.

National Homeless Animal’s Day and Candlelight Vigils were introduced by the International Society for Animal Rights in 1992 as a way to bring awareness of pet overpopulation in animal shelters.

Farrell-Ponce hopes more vigils every year will bring public awareness of how many animals are lost, as well as the importance of spraying/neutering pets to decrease the pet over-overpopulation problem that plagues the Rio Grande Valley.

“We hope that people understand the importance of this vigil. We hope to bring awareness and decrease the amount of animals on the streets and in the shelters,” she said.