The staff at the Humane Society of South Mississippi in Gulfport says summertime brings them a large influx of puppies and kittens. It's the time of year when many dogs and cats give birth to their litters, and all too often there is no one able or willing to care for them so they end up in shelters. The staff says a growing kitten population has them scrambling to make room.
"We built a visiting room so that you could come in and visit with your animal before adopting it, and we had to turn that into a kitten room. That normally houses about 30 to 35 kittens, and it's really not big enough for that," shelter manager Marcy McDaniel said.
Workers believe cost keeps some people from spaying or neutering their pets while others just don't realize the magnitude of the problem of unwanted animals. The Humane Society of South Mississippi alone put 11,000 animals to sleep last year.
"Once an animal is surrendered and we do put it up for adopting, we try to keep it up for adopting," McDaniel said. "But sometimes we run out of room, and we have to say there's no more space. Somebody has to go."
The Humane Society of South Mississippi is looking for new ways to help control the pet population. The shelter has developed partnerships with some area veterinarians to offer spading and neutering at a reduced rate.