Local shelter struggles with the number of stray dogs pouring in

WTAP News @ 11- Humane Society seeing more strays
Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 7:48 PM EDT
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MARIETTA, Ohio. (WTAP) - The Humane Society of the Ohio Valley is dealing with a lot more stray dogs than usual. Shelter officials say they aren’t taking in owner surrenders in order to make room for them - a common policy in the shelter world for an unusual situation.

Executive Director Karissa Reynolds said of the situation, “We’ve kind of operated at capacity for quite a few months and it’s just getting worse…,”

While being tight on space isn’t an uncommon challenge for shelters, the numbers have reached another level for the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley.

“We’ve had dogs in floor crates. Sometimes we have smaller dogs in our larger cat kennels,” Reynolds said.

While warmer weather typically brings in more strays, Reynolds said that, even during this time of year, this number of strays isn’t normal.

“You get four or five strays in one day and maybe one of those is reclaimed and they’re not in bad condition at all. They’re healthy, they’re sweet, they’re friendly dogs so you know that they’re loved so we always wonder where are their owners? Why aren’t they coming up to the shelter?” she said.

Adding on to that, the shelter didn’t see the typical drop in dogs brought in during the winter. Instead, the strays kept coming.

“Staff get worn out. Compassion fatigue is very real,” she said, adding that dogs aren’t getting as much attention as they’re used to.

Adoption numbers have remained steady, not straying from what’s typical according to Reynolds.

While the answer, isn’t abundantly clear, she has her theories on why this is happening.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, people were home all of the time so they purchased puppies, they adopted, and then, as financial help from that situation ran out, as people went back to work, they had less and less time for their animals that they took in,” Reynolds said.

A lack in spaying and neutering is, per usual, another suspected culprit.

Reynolds pointed out that there are multiple food pantries for dogs in the area, including one the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley runs.

If you’re interested in helping this shelter, Reynolds said fostering makes a big difference.

“We just need people with spaces in their homes that are willing to love these animals as much as we do.”

The Humane Society of Parkersburg said it doesn’t seem like they’re getting an unusual amount of strays but it’s hard to say since their capacity expanded in 2021. They are currently accepting owner surrenders, however appointments are typically pushed back a couple days due to space.

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