‘Dire situation:’ Animal shelters are overcapacity because owners can no longer afford pets

PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – More than 100 animals up for adoption are anxiously awaiting a forever home in Pender County. Meanwhile, they live at the overcrowded Pender County Animal Shelter.

Shelter manager Jewell Horton said the shelter has seen large numbers of animals brought in due to the economic impact and owners’ inability to care for pets. That means shelters now have more dogs and cats than cages.

“As a municipal shelter, we’re open, which means we can’t say no to what our citizens bring to us,” Horton said. “You know, having 50 dog cages and 50 cat cages and not being able to tell people no, it does create a dire situation.”

Pender County is not alone as the effects of inflation hit pet owners hard. This has created a crisis at animal shelters due to capacity constraints.

“We only accepted 31 cats from one person last week because she lost her home and, you know, found herself living with cats in less-than-ideal situations,” Horton said. “Anyway, we were overloaded with cats, and then when you brought in 31 more cats, that really pushed the scale to our tipping point.”

Pets are also feeling the stress, said Rosey Milazzo of Rosey’s Rescue in Pender County.

“Unfortunately, we haven’t done any adoptions recently, so we can’t help them adopt any dogs,” Milazzo said. “The past year has been really tough. We had a dog there for 14 months.”

If you’re thinking of bringing a pet home for the holidays, make sure you understand the costs and responsibilities, and make sure you have the necessary resources and money, Horton says.

“We don’t want people coming here to buy pets for Christmas,” Horton said. “We want you to come and get an animal because you’re ready for that emotional and financial commitment.”

For years, the Pender County Shelter had to euthanize animals for space reasons. Horton hopes it doesn’t get to that point.

For space requirements, we have to comply with laws and regulations,” Horton said. “So there’s a critical tipping point, and if we fail to follow these guidelines, euthanasia in space could become a problem, and that’s not where we want to be. “

If you would like to adopt a pet from the Pender County Animal Shelter, you can visit the shelter’s website.


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