COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Paws Humane Society invites animal lovers to foster its cats and dogs over the holidays in an effort it calls “Operation Silent Night.” It aims to empty its shelter by Christmas Eve, with an exception for animals that need medical attention.

Animal pickups will run from Wednesday, Dec. 21 to Friday, Dec. 23. Pets will return to the shelter Tuesday, Jan. 3 unless their foster pet parents choose to adopt them.

Paws Humane Society Executive Director Courtney Pierce said Paws Humane Society is holding “Operation Silent Night” for two reasons.

“The main thing is that we feel that the animals in our care, it would be nice for them to be in a home for the holidays versus being in a shelter,” she said. “So that gives them a break. It’s also an opportunity for people who have thought about adopting but not sure to kind of try it out, see if it’s going to work for their families. And so, that hopefully gets more animals adopted.”

Pierce said Paws Humane Society typically has an adoption special around the holidays. But things are different this year because adoption numbers have been so low. She hypothesized that this is due to people struggling economically.

Pierce predicted that 100 or more animals will be available to be fostered for this effort. She said there will probably be more dogs than cats.

Paws Humane Society will provide foster pet parents with resources they’ll need to care for their animals. Pierce said these will include food, leashes for dogs, crates for crate training, cat litter and litter boxes, as needed

To foster an animal for “Operation Silent Night,” click here or email foster@pawshumane.org.