Animal shelters are places of mixed emotions. It is always wonderful when someone walks in and gives an animal a forever home. Both human and pet leave smiling from ear to ear. But it is devastating when another animal is left homeless and needs to be taken in. There are also animals who are old or sick and never find a family because they don’t seem ‘appealing’ enough.
The survival of shelters depends on people choosing to adopt more pets rather than buying from breeders and on people not abandoning their animals. Right now, two shelters in Atlanta, Georgia are facing hardships on an unprecedented scale because they’ve got a huge inflow of animals and the numbers don’t seem to be dropping any time soon.
While the shelter workers are willing to care for them, the units they have were only designed to take in a certain number. The LifeLine Animal Project runs the Fulton and Dekalb County Shelters and according to Karen Hirsch, their PR Director, 1500 new animals came to the shelters in July of last year. Then last month they again had to take in around 1800 animals and the increasing numbers have stretched their already limited resources to the max.
Right now the shelters are accommodating up to six dogs in every kennel just so all of them have a place to sleep. While the photos of the dogs cuddled up together seem adorable, the risks are high. Though the shelter staff do their best to ensure that they match dogs according to their temperament, they can’t be sure that issues won’t arise.
Hirsch explained that the increasing stress because of the massive number of dogs coming in is also making the dogs antsy and this causes fights to happen. Usually, they try to house dogs that start these fights separately but now that they have little to no space, that is also becoming very difficult.
What no one can understand is why the numbers increase so much in July and August. The usual problems like dogs getting lost, unneutered pets giving birth to offspring, and people leaving their pets at the shelter are common but the shelter staff haven’t been able to narrow down on any one cause.
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A few days ago, the staff posted urgent posts on social media asking people in the locality to foster pets for a while. They were willing to start them off with all the essential supplies for keeping a pet on a short term basis. The situation was so dire they were willing to let people foster just for two days if they could.
Anyone in the Atlanta region who is looking for a new furry friend should totally go check out the shelters. In an effort to find loving homes for more of their residents, the shelters have waived the usual adoption fee for this month as part of their Clear The Shelters initiative.
By giving an animal a new home, you’ll also be giving yourself a friend for life.
All images: Karen Hirsch