Fort Worth

June 19, 2014

Area animal shelters getting crowded

Fort Worth is offering $10 adoptions this weekend to ease crowding in its shelter.

Every spring, the animal population soars and cities must scramble to keep their shelters from becoming overcrowded.

Two years ago, the city of Fort Worth faced massive overcrowding issues and now it is getting close to being full again.

“The situation is very fluid,” said Diane Covey, a spokeswoman for the Fort Worth Code Compliance Department. On Thursday afternoon, Fort Worth Animal Care and Control had about 430 animals. It has a combined capacity of 460 at its shelter and two PetSmart adoption centers.

As a result, Fort Worth Animal Care and Control is having an adoption event with PetSmart and Apollo Support & Rescue at both PetSmart Adoption Centers. Adoption fees will be reduced to $10.

So far, overcrowding hasn’t forced Fort Worth to euthanize any healthy, adoptable animals but some cities have been forced to put some animals down because of capacity issues.

In Dallas, where the shelter is averaging between 700 and 705 animals a day, it is impossible to find a home for each animal, said Katherine McManus, a veterinarian and operations manager for Dallas Animal Services.

“Right now, I would say four to five animals out of 10 have a chance of leaving the shelter alive,” McManus said.

With plenty of puppies and kittens being born and some pets being given up as people move during the summer, animal shelters are starting to get slammed, McManus said.

“Summer is definitely a challenging time,” McManus said. “Unfortunately, there’s a lot of transition for some people and they may not be able to take their pets with them.”

Pet restrictions in apartments and other rental properties often makes it difficult for renters to keep pets.

“We have a huge issue of people not finding housing where they can take their pets,” McManus said. “It’s one of the biggest challenges we face.”

Dallas ordinance restrictions also limit the number of times per year the shelter can offer discounted adoptions, McManus said.

Other parts of North Texas have also seen challenges.

Weatherford has also had an increase in animals coming into the shelter, said Dustin Deel, assistant director of municipal and community services.

“We see an increase in people who are going on summer vacations and decide they can’t take the animals with them or don’t want them anymore,” Deel said in an email. “We see an increase in people who neglect their pets by leaving them out in direct sun and heat without water or shelter.”

On the other side of the Metroplex, there have also been issues.

Earlier this week, Collin County Animal Services made an appeal on its Facebook page, saying it had 25 dogs and cats in temporary kennels and was offering $25 adoptions.

In Fort Worth, Covey said pet owners need to take more responsibility for their pets by having them licensed, vaccinated and spayed or neutered.

“Until people start spaying and neutering their pets, this is going to continue to be an issue,” Covey said.

The Fort Worth adoption events will take place at the PetSmart Hulen (I-20 at Hulen Street) and PetSmart Alliance (I-35W at Heritage Trace Parkway). Adoption are 9 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Sunday.

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