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Overcrowded Animal Shelters Face Difficult Decisions


There’s no time like the present. And in the case of dogs and cats at the Montgomery Humane Society, the present may be the last chance at hope. Many cats and dogs await forever families at an overcrowded animal shelter that like many others, faces challenges due to increased intake and slow pet adoptions.

Slow adoptions lead to overcrowding in animal shelters

Alabama Public Radio shared the plea from the Montgomery Humane Society. Due to slow adoptions further impacted by the summer months, the organization urges community members to adopt. The organization is cutting adoption fees to half of the usual rate as an incentive. The fee covers the adoption process, including vaccinations, microchips, and spay/neutering.

Lea Turbert, the Marketing and Development Manager for the Montgomery Humane Society, says dogs and cats of all ages and sizes are included in the summer promotion. “All of their adoption fees now are $50 which includes spay or neutering, Microchip, and up to date on their vaccinations,” Turbert said. “Adult dogs are always the second to look at. Puppies, you know, are cute. They look at the cuteness and want to take a puppy home. So, adult dogs are always second to be looked at.”

As a trend, businesses and organizations often see a decrease in activity during the summer months. Animal shelters are no exception to the summer slump. Turbert explains that people are usually away from their homes during summer months, occupied with travel or family activities.

“People you know, are on vacation,” Turbert stated. “They’re away doing activities. Kids are at camp. So, it’s sometimes a hard time to add a new friend to your family.”

Shelters nationwide share pleas for help

Many overcrowded shelters nationwide face challenges and are unable to safely care for the animals in their facilities. Some welfare groups organized emergency events to help animals find homes. Others sent out widespread pleas for help with fostering to keep many of the dogs and cats in their facilities from facing space euthanasia.

Earlier this year, Dekalb County Animal Services, an Atlanta-area shelter, celebrated after 345 dogs found homes in a week after the shelter shared a post on social media. Earlier this month, however, the same organization shared another plea as 140 dogs in the facility faced a June 22 deadline.

“If these 140 dogs don’t find homes within the next 5 days, we will have to euthanize due to lack of humane housing,” the Instagram post said.

As heartbreaking as it may be, the crisis is common. Unfortunately, the uptick in pet surrender and overcrowding in animal shelters may be related to rising costs of pet care, economic instability, and the results of the pandemic puppy boom. Shelters across the country face similar challenges. Many organizations are in need of volunteers and fosters to help buy shelter animals more time.

If you’re looking for a way to help, consider becoming a shelter foster. You can learn more here.


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