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CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, more than 6 million dogs and cats are placed in shelters each year, and hundreds of thousands of them do not make it out alive.
Many shelters across the country are reporting overcrowded kennels and are asking for the public’s help. Like other industries, a major problem for shelters is understaffing. When shelters don’t have the help they need, it can be bad news for hopeful pets.
“You’re not providing the service that you could provide before. And on our terms, that means getting animals out of the shelter alive,” said Julie Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society, an organization that tracks euthanasia data. in the USA
With fewer staff, Castle says many shelters are open for fewer hours.
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“So that leaves fewer opportunities for animals to come out alive. We’re seeing shelters holding fever events,” she said.
It’s been a particularly tough summer at the city-run shelter in Charlotte, North Carolina. Melissa Knicely has worked at the Charlotte shelter for 15 years and says it’s the worst she’s seen.
“During the month of June, if you average everything, it would probably be 3-4 dogs a day,” Knicely said.
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Euthanasias are 40% higher than last summer at the Charlotte shelter.
“I feel like I’m crying wolf sometimes because we’ve been so full for so long and we’re shouting it and shouting it,” Knicely said.
When shelters are understaffed, it means fewer resources are devoted to dogs with medical or behavioral issues.
“We had to make decisions that some would call ‘for space,’ but it wasn’t just about space, we also had to consider behavior,” Knicely explained.
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The Best Friends Animal Society (BFAS) focuses primarily on improving conditions in five states: California, Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Alabama. These states represent 31% of the US population, but they account for half of all murders in shelters according to the BFAS.
“Maybe they have a lot of different shelters that don’t have access to community resources or people to help them,” Castle said.
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Even if you can’t adopt a pet. Many shelters say the best way to help is to volunteer or temporarily foster a pet.