‘We’re running out of space’: Shelters, officers seeing growing number of stray and abandoned pets
BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Animal shelters across South Mississippi are facing over crowding.
Animal control officers are experiencing issues of animal population numbers first hand.
“Summertime we really stay busy picking up animals. On Mondays, we have a lot of calls come in. Right now, I have several animals in my patrol unit, and it’s not even noon yet,” said Candace Woods, Biloxi Police Department’s Animal Control Officer.
Mating season for cats and dogs typically happens during the spring.
Now that we’re at the end of summer, stray puppies and kittens are popping up all over the place, but they are not the only factor contributing to over crowding.
“People are getting animals for their children, adopting them from the humane society and realizing it’s a lot of responsibility to train them, walk them, and they don’t want to do it anymore. They bring them to the humane society and it doesn’t fix the problem,” Woods said.
Biloxi and Gulfport police departments work with the Humane Society of South Mississippi to bring in strays.
“Right now, we are housing 409 animals in house at the shelter. We have an additional 100 animals in foster homes. That’s over 500 animals currently in our care,” said Katie King, HSSM Development Director. “We’re seeing a lot of large dogs coming into the shelter, as well as puppies being abandoned. So, we’re running out of space.”
One way to curb over crowding at shelters is to get pets microchipped.
“Getting their pets microchipped and keeping it updated is so important,” Woods said. “We can reach out and call the owner to get their animal back to them instead of bringing them to the shelter.”
Spay and neutering animals is also paramount to keeping stray populations under control.
For struggling pet owners, there are resources available to help foot those bills.
“If an animal owner has exhausted all resources financially, they can come to us and we can assist them with pet food, vaccines, microchipping, spay and neutering, supplies, sheltering for the animal. Anything like that. We do our best to keep pets and families together,” King said.
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