Shelters out of room for stray pets

Staff writer

Marion veterinarian Jessica Laurin recently has run into the problem of too many found stray animals, and nowhere to house them.

A few residents have brought found cats and dogs to Animal Health Center trying to find some place to take them. Unable to house unowned animals, AHC’s policy is to send the animals to humane societies in Newton or McPherson. However, both are full.

The reason: overpopulation, a spokesperson for Caring Hands Humane Society in Newton said.

The man who did not wish to be named said the shelter was at capacity and only accepting animals on a case-by-case basis.

“We as a society are trying to work hard at getting every pet adopted out,” Laurin said. “However, the amount of homes is limited. If owners would have their pets neutered, it would reduce the burdens to humane societies.”

Laurin also believes the struggling economy has left many families with pets cutting costs, and therefore releasing pets.

“It’s a tough reality,” she said.

The situation is leaving a few residents, Laurin said, wondering what to do with strays or unwanted pets they find.

“The county has no leash law and no funds set aside for strays and no humane society,” she said. “For many years Caring Hands was very willing to accept strays from the county and even in the past year if we had an unclaimed city pickup and no interest to adopt, we would send them over.”

Because area shelters are full, Laurin recommends people who take in a stray care for them if possible, or work to find them a home.

“It is as expensive as taking in a new puppy,” she said. “It is a hard decision and not one to be taken lightly.”

Part of the overpopulation problem is caused by people who want a pet, only to discover they’re not as easy or cheap to care for as thought.

“I recommend that owners acknowledge what the first-year costs of puppies and kittens are before they adopt a new pet,” she said. “There is a huge time and overhead commitment.”

Humane societies have more staff and resources to dedicate to finding homes for local animals, but after an English Setter was found in Marion, Laurin discovered that shelters in Newton, McPherson, and Wichita would not accept the dog.

“If you call to place a dog with them, they will tell you they are full as well,” she said. “We contacted several rescues to try and put dogs into and were able to have someone from a Setter rescue to come pick the dog up.”

Sometimes finding credible rescues is a challenge, Laurin said.

For those wishing to help without taking on a pet, Laurin recommends donating supplies and funds to local shelters and to participate in the Trap Neuter Release program.

The program encouraged residents to trap stray cats and have them neutered or spayed. The veterinarian puts a notch in the cat’s ear to indicate it’s been fixed before being released again.

“Studies done in large cities have found that this is an effective method of reducing stray cat populations,” she said.

 

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