WEST PALM BEACH — For over a year now, Palm Beach County’s main animal shelter has been accepting more animals than ever it was built to accommodate. Leaders say the solution may not lie in adoption. but in foster care
Foster care means taking them home from the shelter for at least two weeks, says Jan Steele, who runs Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control. their stress levels Even if it’s only for a limited time The shelter provides medical care, food, collars, leashes, and crates for when pets are nursed.
Spending time in the community and away from shelters increases the chances pets will find someone who wants to give them a forever home, Steele says, and the benefits to pets are clear.
Stephanie Sejnoha, Palm Beach County director of public safety for Animal Care and Control, said “fostering helps animals live in a happier environment.” Animals will be less stressed. They live in a lovely environment where they get to walk every day.”
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The shelter is working on finding as many people to adopt the animals as possible. With over 100 registered volunteers, they still need more.
“We need to put a system in place,” County Commissioner Maria Sachs said after visiting the main shelter on May 22, when 314 dogs, cats and other animals called it home.
“There are many people in this district who may feel lonely or lonely. If they don’t know if they want a pet or not. They can be fed. which is considered beneficial for both pets and individuals.”
Animal Care and Control is running a special promotion with reduced adoption fees for faster adoption.
Adoption fees typically range from $60 to $100, dropping to $5 throughout May. The shelter’s director of promotion calls it “Cinco de Meowo.” The next promotion is a $19 adoption fee for June 17-18, then the fee drops to $4 on July 1-4.
“I know we are losing revenue from adoption fee reductions. But it’s more important to bring these animals into the home,” Steele said.
In addition to promoting foster care, Sachs plans to work with local animal organizations to try to reduce some of the costs to shelters and coordinate programs. that offers assistance animal training for eligible dogs in need of homes.
When does the shelter reach capacity?
The plant reached its peak capacity in February last year. It still receives an average of 30 surrendered animals every day, Steele said.
The shelter has a kennel for 144 dogs, but has to find alternatives to house the 176 dogs living there on May 22.
The shelter now doubles as a kennel. This means they keep two dogs in a kennel built just for one. and using an overflow kennel placed in the hallway of the shelter
a few months ago The shelter has launched a “doggy day-out” program where community members can take their dogs into their neighborhood or to the local dog park in hopes of finding someone willing to adopt them.
Why are so many people surrendering their pets?
Local animal advocates and shelter officials point to inflation as the main cause of pet surrender.
Rising pet food and medical costs have left some pet owners across the county with no choice but to leave their animals at shelters.
“A lot of people come to us and tell us how much they love their animals. But you have to choose between raising the kids or feeding the dogs,” Steele said.
The shelter hopes to achieve no-kill status one day.
The shelter must have a consistent 90% adoption rate to achieve no-kill shelter status.
This rate has not been achieved since pet surrenders increased last year, as of May 23, the live release rate stands at 88%.
“This is not a shelter issue. This is a community issue,” Steele said. We would be a no-kill shelter.”
Currently, between 6 and 10 animals in shelters are euthanized each week for two reasons: serious medical complications or behavioral problems.
Steele said behavior problems in animals may have developed from overcrowded conditions in shelters. Loud barking at the shelter throughout the day and the space stressing out the animals.
“I don’t want to make the decision to kill an animal just because there is no room. We gave them every opportunity to get through it,” says Steele. “It was too crowded and the animals were too stressed out. They want a warm home environment.”
The shelter will soon be expanded and redesigned.
Ten years ago, the shelter developed a plan for a new building and in six months it is expected to receive a permit to begin construction. with a budget of about 48 million dollars.
The renovation will include quarantine and isolation areas dedicated to sick animals. Heating and air conditioning systems to help stop the spread of disease in animals and lobby changes
Although the newly renovated space allows the shelter’s staff to better control the environment, it’s still a necessity. But they also need community help in tackling overcrowding.
“The solution is community,” Sejnoha said. “We have to make sure everyone realizes that we can’t solve this problem on our own. Even our rescue partners have reached their limits. Sponsorship is a big part of solving our problems.”
If you are interested in adopting an animal at Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control, please submit an application here: https://survey.pbcgov.com/s3/Foster-Volunteer-Application
This article originally appeared on the Palm Beach Post: Animal shelters see pet care as a relief for overcrowded enclosures.