Tacoma animal shelter reports severe overcrowding as they look for people to take pets

Jun 14, 2023, 6:42 AM

(Photo from KIRO 7)...

(Photo from KIRO 7)

(Photo from KIRO 7)

Animal shelters across the Puget Sound region complain kennel space is now hard to come by. The Tacoma & Pierce County Humane Society reports an increased number of surrendered pets is contributing to severe overcrowding. Over the weekend, the shelter announced it was around 70 dogs over capacity.

“That’s a lot of animals to try and find space for,” said Lindsey Heaney with the Tacoma & Pierce County Humane Society. “We’re really low on kennel space right now. We could also use foster homes.”

Heaney shared that right now, the shelter is trying to combat a rise in upper respiratory illnesses. A few weeks ago, roughly fifteen dogs showed signs of kennel cough. Heaney says space is so limited, they’ve hardly got enough room for the sick dogs to quarantine.

Sarah Hock, Executive Director of Joint Animal Services in Thurston County further emphasized the risks associated with overcrowding in shelters, stating, “Once a shelter becomes overpopulated and we’re beyond our capacity, that’s when we start running the risk of disease and communal disease spread.”

Hock believes the surge in surrendered pets is caused by work-from-home restrictions, a shortage of veterinarians, economic uncertainty, and COVID-related spay and neuter delays. According to Hock, historically cats are harder to rehome. However, that trend has shifted.

“We’ve got dogs coming into the system, and we’re having a hard time getting them out,” said Hock. “A lot of shelters are struggling to find a placement, especially for those large dogs.”

Hock reports, Joint Animal Services hold the capacity to care for 95 animals at a time. Currently, they’re looking after 129.

“The longer one animal sits, that’s another animal that can’t come in and get our help,” said Hock.

MyNorthwest News

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Tacoma animal shelter reports severe overcrowding as they look for people to take pets