BALTIMORE (WJZ) — This weekend, an autograph extravaganza drew hundreds of Orioles fans to the state’s largest animal shelter. Meeting the players was just a perk, as the team is hoping to boost pet adoptions.

Gigi Barnett explains.

The line at BARCS Animal Shelter in Baltimore wrapped around the building. Folks wanted to see the dogs, the cats and the Orioles–one of the baseball players, that is.

“I love Nate McLouth, I really do,” said one fan.

Wei-Yin Chen, Matt Wieters and Chris Tillman teamed up with the animal shelter to host an autograph signing session. Shoes, caps and calendars that feature team members and their pets were all inked.

“I’m going to say, `Can you sign the jersey?'” a young O’s fan said.

“We have season tickets. We’re there to see them and support them every chance we can,” said Orioles fan Lance Barley.

It’s the second year for the event that supports BARCS.

“There are so many animals in Baltimore that don’t have a home. I think that’s what the biggest part of the day is–is just getting the word out that you can have a great animal without going to a breeder. You can get a great animal right here,” Wieters said.

BARCS is the largest animal shelter in the state and it has an open door policy, which means that it doesn’t turn any animal away. The shelter hopes the Orioles outside will draw fans inside to look at potential pets.

“It’s amazing how many animals are brought in. We’re doing everything we can to save as many as possible,” said BARCS Executive Director Jennifer Brause. “Having the Orioles’ support really means a lot to us.”

In getting the birds, to help the pets.

BARCS takes in more than 12,000 animals every year and places about 800 pets in foster care.


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