Animal control officers see increase of strays across South Mississippi

The easiest way to keep your pet safe is to get them micro chipped. Spay and neutering will also keep the stray population under control.
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 10:49 AM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Animal shelters across South Mississippi are facing overcrowding; it’s a story we have reported throughout the summer. Animal control officers are experiencing issues with animal population numbers firsthand.

“Summertime we really stay busy picking up animals. On Mondays, we have a lot of calls come in,” said Candace Woods, Biloxi Police Department’s Animal Control Officer. Right now, I have several animals in my patrol unit and it’s not even noon yet.”

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 overcrowding.

“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,” Officer Woods said. “They bring them to the humane society and it doesn’t fix the problem.”

Biloxi and Gulfport Police Departments work with the Humane Society of South Mississippi to bring in strays. Katie King, Humane Society of South Mississippi Development Director, says their shelter is currently overwhelmed.

“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,” King said. “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 overcrowding at shelters is to get pets microchipped.

“Getting their pets microchipped and keeping it updated is so important,” said Officer Woods. “We can reach out and call the owner to get their animal back to them instead of bringing them to the shelter.”

Spaying 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,” King said. “We do our best to keep pets and families together.”

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