Kentucky animal shelters overwhelmed with surrenders, intakes

Animal shelters are facing "code red" with too many animals and not enough homes.

GARRARD CO, Ky (WTVQ)- Animal shelters are facing “code red”: too many animals and not enough homes.

“The rescue people really feel defeated right now,” said Anita Spreitzer with Paws 4 the Cause. “It’s really a hard situation, but we have to keep going everyday.”

Spreitzer says animal shelters across the state are over capacity with more animals being dropped off every day.

“We think it’s a perfect storm between the economy, gas prices hiking, and everybody going back to work, and after the pandemic,” said Spreitzer.

Several animal shelters in the area have been making posts, asking people to adopt or foster. Brittany Fain says in her ten years with the Garrard County Animal Shelter, she’s never seen anything like this.

“This year, I think we’ve already been “code red” about three times and we’re just, you know, six months in,” said Fain.

Most of those intakes are owner surrenders. Other shelters say they’re seeing an increase in stray animals dropped off.

“The adoptions and rescues pulling isn’t keeping up with the amount of surrenders a shelter has,” said Fain. “Not that rescues aren’t trying, they’re out of room as well.”

Fain says her shelter has a capacity of 32. They already have 24 dogs.

“Our cat intake is currently closed,” said Fain. “We took in 12 new cats within ten minutes of each other today.”

And it’s not just a crisis in Kentucky: it’s impacting other states, as well.

“So even the shelters and a lot of the rescues that are in Indiana and up north that usually take a lot of animals from Kentucky to help with what’s going on here are at capacity also,” said Spreitzer. “So wer’e at the point of begging.”

Spreitzer says if something doesn’t change, shelters will have to take measures into their own hands.

“What’s going to happen with the shelters if they don’t get room, they’re going to be pushed to euthanize. Not us, but the shelters,” said Spreitzer.

To help relieve some of the pressure, “Paws” plans to open up a clinic in the coming months offering spay and neuter procedures.

“That’s the solution. We have to get the population here to understand that they need affordable spay and neutering,” said Spreitzer.

A crisis that is also leaving workers worn out and overwhelmed.

“We’re all trying,” said Fain. “We’re tired, but we’re trying to keep up with the intake flow, ya know? We’re working as a team to save as many as we can.”

The Garrard County Animal Shelter is need of cleaning supplies and cat litter. They’re in need of people coming to adopt. Click here for more information.

Paws 4 the Cause has a wishlist of items on Amazon that it is in need of. They’re also in need of fosters, dog food, and sponsors. For more info, click here.

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