OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma City animal welfare officials say they are in crisis and your help is needed.
Right now they are way over their capacity with dogs and cats and have to make tough decisions.
There are ways to help that don’t involve adoption and foster care.
“We are in a critical situation,” Superintendent Jon Gary said. “We had a few difficult days last week. We’ve had to euthanize animals for space and that’s something we try never to do, but the amount coming in and not enough going out, it became a reality for us this week.
Oklahoma City Animal Welfare is packed – this week it reported having 402 dogs and 245 cats in its care.
It’s 135% and 129% overcapacity, respectfully.
As they run out of space, it becomes less likely that every animal that enters will make it out alive.
“It’s incredibly difficult,” Gary said. “It’s something we’ve pledged not to do anymore, but we have to think about the humanity of hosting the number of animals we have.”
Animal Welfare is set to welcome twice as many dogs this month as in October last year.
Overcrowding is a common problem during the summer months, but not in October, especially for cats.
“Today we have over 200 cats in the building and for us that’s a lot,” Gary said.
While other shelters across the country say they’ve seen a number of pets adopted during COVID-19 closures return, officials say that’s not happening here.
“We’ve been very lucky here in Oklahoma City,” Gary said. “We just haven’t seen that. Our return rates have been about the same.
Besides adopting and fostering, officials say the best way to help is to stop the animals from coming to the shelter in the first place.
“I know it’s normal, if you find a stray the first reaction is to bring them to the shelter, but only less than 20% of the dogs that come into our shelter are picked up by their owner,” Gary said. . “They are actually much more likely to return to the owner if left in the area where they are.”
Authorities say that if you find a stray dog, try to keep it in your yard for a few days if you can.
Use neighborhood sites and social media to try to locate the owner.
Oklahoma City Animal Welfare is offering a discount – $30 for dog adoptions through the end of October.
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