There’s been more barking and meowing at animal shelters across the Front Range lately.
That’s because the facilities are overcrowded.
Shelters have seen a rise in the number of surrenders, animal cruelty, and stray cases. And potential pets are not being adopted fast enough.
Although many are your standard dog or cat, Denver Animal Shelter Service Director Megan Delmore says there has been a slight increase in exotic animals.
“These are rats, and mice, and hamsters, and gerbils, and guinea pigs, and rabbits,” Delmore said. “And then, we also saw a lot of leopard geckos.”
Recently, the Aurora animal shelter has had to limit services due to capacity and be more selective about which animals it will house.
“Just because of our ability issues, we’ve had to leave this open to incoming strays or any of those animals that don’t currently have a home,” Delmore said.
Overcrowding is nothing new to Aurora – it’s one of the smallest shelters in the area. But, usually, when the shelter reaches its full capacity, the animals are moved to another shelter.
But Nicole Robbins, community outreach coordinator for the Aurora Animal Shelter, says that’s not an option right now.
“The fact that all of our rescue partners and all of our shelter cooperation (saying), ‘I’m so sorry. We can’t take your animals right now because we’re all too full,'” Robbins said.
“And this is definitely a new area where we can’t count on the same relationships. So, we have animals that sit longer than we would like.”
Many blame the epidemic on overcrowding. But Dillmore says a A nationwide shortage of veterinarians It delays adoption.
“According to Colorado regulations, animals must be spayed and sterilized before they can be adopted from the shelter,” Delmore said. “If we can’t get all of them through surgery in time, these animals will stay in the shelter longer while we try to get them into surgery.”
Owners hand over animals for various reasons. housing issue
The problem isn’t just that people don’t want their pets. Dillmore says shelters are seeing owners move into new homes where pets are not welcome.
“There is definitely a lack of pet-friendly housing in America in general,” Delmore said. “Or there are really certain strains that some landlords or businesses don’t allow on their compounds.”
Other causes include incompatibility of newborns and pets.
And with all those mouths to feed – Aurora’s pet food pantry is running out. She regularly receives donations, most recently huge donations from Colorado Pet Food. But Robbins said it was hard to keep up.
“We get a lot of donations regularly, which is great. We just got a lot of requests,” Robbins said. “If someone needs a 50-pound bag of dog food, we’ll give it to them. But then we became less. “
Denver and Aurora shelters have tried ways to attract more adoptions. The Denver Animal Shelter offered a 50 percent discount on adoption fees through its Clear the Shelter Program in August. The Aurora Animal Shelter offered a similar promotion.
But both had little effect.
Dillmore says pet owners are encouraged to bring their animals home before they are delivered.
“Try to go through other ways. Do you have a family member or friend who could, perhaps be interested in adopting a dog or a cat or a ferret or what have you, said Delmore. “But, if there is a need to bring it somewhere, we prefer to return it to us. We do not judge here.”
The ultimate goal, Delmore said, is to find the right species for any animal.
Anyone interested in adopting a pet should visit a shelter site in your area. The Denver Animal Shelter encourages future pet owners to take a look at its lost and found page when considering adoptions.
The site is useful, but, as Delmore said, some connections are being made unexpectedly.
“Sometimes people are like, ‘I wasn’t planning on taking a 10-pound Chihuahua home. I wanted this boxer here. “But I fell in love with it, just walking through the shelter,” Delmore said. “So it’s really cool to see things like that. It’s one of my favorite parts of the job.”
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