March 17 – The Stillwater Animal Welfare is a no-kill shelter – for now.
Due to a sudden surge in dog numbers, the shelter may eventually resort to euthanasia to help its overwhelmed kennels, city officials say. Their planned solution is for the public to adopt more animals.
Animal Welfare Director Rachel Wasserman said it has been about a year since the shelter last asked for a big adoption effort from the public.
“We cannot maintain our ‘no-kill’ facility status with the amount of animals brought in daily. The adoption rate is low and the number of surrenders is on the rise,” Wasserman said. “The last thing we want to do is euthanize healthy animals for lack of space.”
All Animal Welfare Officers are trained in euthanasia and certified for emergency situations, primarily to humanely relieve the suffering of an animal that will not survive injury, but they do choose to kill adoptable animals only as a last resort. This choice may have to be made soon.
The shelter, which has been considered by the town of Stillwater for demolition and replaced with a new facility if funding is ever in place, has 26 large kennels but is now home to more than 40 dogs that have been squeezed into wire crates. iron, cat cages and desks.
Wasserman said the rise in dog abandonments can be attributed to financial issues or new owners not engaging in all that comes with taking care of a pet, such as home training.
“We have people who buy animals and don’t realize they’re working, and they don’t want to do the work,” Wasserman said. “They just have to realize that pets are a big responsibility.”
Thea Easly was signing Princess’s adoption papers on Friday when the news broke. Princess is a 65 pound, 2 year old Bullmastiff mix who is missing a toe.
“I’ve been trying to convince myself to get a dog for a while now,” Easly said. “And I work for the city, so when I saw that (The Stillwater Animal Welfare) needed help, I went online and found a dog I wanted.”
There are several upcoming adoption events in the community to introduce available pets to future owners.
On Saturday, there is a dog adoption event at Sonic on Perkins Road from 1-3 p.m. Wasserman said the people who work there enjoy supporting animal welfare.
Two more dog adoption events are scheduled for March 26 at The Renaissance of Stillwater on McElroy Road from 1-3 p.m. and March 28 at Blue Peak on Main Street from 2-5 p.m.
Adoption fees are $60 for dogs and $40 for cats. Some people in the community paid the animal fees over the phone as sponsors, Wasserman said.
“We desperately need adoptions and volunteers,” Wasserman said. “This crisis is one that requires a community solution.”