GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Humane Society of South Mississippi (HSSM) will not accept animals into the shelter from the public and animal control officers– until further notice.
The move comes a day after authorities seized more than 100 dogs from a home in Saucier. The HSSM shelter is now caring for those animals. This is the first time in the 48 year history of HSSM it has closed its doors to animals.
"We are 100 animals over maximum capacity due to yesterday's seizure and I refuse to euthanize animals that are currently in our shelter just to make room for more to come in," said Tara High, Interim Executive Director of HSSM.
HSSM is appealing for emergency foster homes for some of its animals. Fostering a pet means taking it into your home on a temporary basis to help reduce the population at the shelter.
"We need a little time to get animals adopted, fostered, and transported," said Jode' Braxton-Hignight, Development Director for HSSM. "We apologize for any inconveniences but, we need to focus our attention to saving the animals lives that are here and we need to help them quickly."
Since 1952 HSSM has been an open admissions shelter that accepts all animals regardless of space and has never turned away animals due to maximum capacity. Average HSSM intake from the public and animal control averages approximately 40 pets per day. HSSM took in 153 pets yesterday, June 10, and no longer has the space or the resources to properly care for the current pet residents.
HSSM is requesting donations from our community so that medical treatment can be offered to the 90+ animals. Towels, sheets, and blankets are also needed as well.
Adoption and foster hours of operation are Monday thru Saturday from 10 to 6 PM.
So with no room at the Humane Society of South Mississippi now, what will animal control officers in coast cities do when they pick up stray animals? Biloxi Police Chief John Miller said he's not really sure.
"We're working on a contingency plan now," Miller told WLOX News. "We may have to keep some of the animals here. You know, we have some K9 pens that are for police dogs, and we may have to use those, but hopefully this isn't going to be a long term thing. I don't think it will be, but I understand the unbelievable task that the Humane Society has, I mean, getting 100 animals at one time."
The woman who willingly surrendered the 99 dogs to authorities was Veronica Quinn. She was charged with 99 counts of animal cruelty.
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