If you haven’t heard it yet, we’re here to tell you, there’s a crisis happening in animal welfare right now. From an explosion in the homeless pet population and staff that are burnt out, to a veterinarian shortage, things are not going well for animal welfare.
On a recent Tuesday morning we took a call on our emergency line. Miracle, one of our adopted dogs, was found abandoned and tied to a tree outside a nearby cat shelter.
Once she was identified as one of our dogs, staff members rushed to pick her up and bring her back to her shelter home… a home already bursting at the seams with animals waiting to find forever homes and countless more waiting for a spot here.
We’re not the only shelter struggling to find homes for our pets — it’s a national crisis. Homeless animals are languishing in shelters for longer periods of time, with fewer staff members to care for them.
Most adoption centers and fosters cannot absorb all of the vulnerable animals flooding the system from overcrowded shelters around the country.
Every week we’re forced to decline transport requests from overpopulated shelters because we don’t have the space or the staff to care for them all.
“In one recent week, 132 animals needed our help,” said Samantha Cheatham, Animal Care and Intake Director. “With our small staff and full kennels, we could only take three. I had to look at their faces and decide which ones we could help. It’s heartbreaking.”
The overworked remaining staff members in shelters are tired and emotionally drained. Many adopters and advocates are supportive and kind regarding what it takes to help all the animals. Others write negative reviews and complain we’re not doing enough and don’t care about getting animals adopted, when our whole lives are dedicated to just that.
We struggle to understand purchases from breeders when we’re caring for so many wonderful pets here, waiting patiently for a chance at a loving home… and many more are waiting behind them just for a chance to get into a shelter.
“Shelter animals are not damaged goods,” said Dr. Kristin Tvrdik, Medical Director, HHS. “And not all breeders are responsible. We see that firsthand with surrendered dogs that are bred with heart issues or many other medical problems caused from in-breeding. Mixed breed, shelter pets typically have fewer medical issues. Then there’s the support of a shelter network, trainers and people who’ve been in the industry a long time who can help you find that great match.”
“Now more than ever we need people to open their homes and hearts to the thought of adoption,” said Cheatham. “If you can’t adopt or foster, then share this blog. Make sure to get your pets spayed or neutered. Whatever you can do to help means the world to this industry right now.”
Please be a part of the solution to the nation’s shelter crisis by adopting an animal from your local shelter. Or, if you can’t adopt, then consider fostering, donating, volunteering, sharing social media posts, or just telling your friends about the great animals available for adoption right now.