What can you do to help the animal shelter?

Jessica Fuller • Aug 20, 2018 at 11:28 PM

After shutting down take-ins for a few days because of overcrowding, the Washington County/Johnson City Animal Shelter take-in center has reopened its doors.

But shelter officials are still asking for help from the community.

The Press reported last week that the shelter is struggling financially, losing more than $20,000 in July alone. In addition to trying to cover for financial losses, the shelter was also operating at full capacity, taking in almost 3,000 animals from January to July – 1,152 of those animals came to the shelter in May and June.

For the animals, that means less space for their time at the shelter, with some cages housing multiple animals to provide for the high number of cats and dogs being brought in, Davis said. The cramped space makes it hard for animals to be comfortable, and more animals means the shelter needs more supplies like food and cat litter to keep up with the surging numbers.

Davis said there are a lot of reasons why the shelter is bursting at the seams, but one contributor to the overcrowded shelter is the addition of out-of-county animals that are brought in by people who think the Washington County-Johnson City shelter is a no-kill shelter.

“We are blessed to have a nice, large building, and I think the public never thought we’d run out of space,” Davis said. “People kind of assumed we had unlimited space and I think they feel like the animals have a better chance of getting adopted here.

“Unfortunately, our focus has to be the animals in Johnson City and Washington County. Taking in animals from surrounding areas puts a strain on us — the staff, the volunteers and it puts a strain on our Washington County animals.”

Davis added that it’s important to understand that the shelter is not a no-kill shelter. Davis said she and the other staff will keep euthanasia as a last resort for space, but she can’t promise that it won’t ever happen at the Washington County-Johnson City shelter.

“No one ever wants to say that their shelter has to euthanize for space,” Davis said. “But we also don’t want the public to be misinformed. We think that plays a part into why everyone brings their animals here.

The shelter put out the call for help last week, and Davis said the community stepped up to the plate to give some shelter residents a new home. On Sunday, the shelter announced that the community raised $4,000, and an anonymous donor matched the donations to give an $8,000 boost this month.

But the work is ongoing, and Davis said there are still plenty of ways the community can help.

“It’s a community issue that becomes a situation where the shelter is expected to try and find a solution for,” Davis said. “The animal shelter is supposed to be a temporary safe place to house and protect homeless animals and right now it becomes a struggle when we’re taking in so many animals a year and we don’t have unlimited space.”

Here’s how you can help if you can’t adopt a pet: 
• Spay/neuter your pets, especially outside pets such as community cats.
• Donate money and/or supplies to the shelter and the Humane Society.
• Volunteer at the shelter.
• Foster kittens that are too young to be adopted. 
• Contact Trap/Neuter/Return organizations for community cats.




Email Jessica Fuller at [email protected] Follow Jessica on Twitter @fullerjf91. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jfullerJCP.

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