OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma City Animal Welfare officials say they are in crisis and your help is needed.
Right now, they’re well over capacity with dogs and cats and are having to make tough decisions.
There are ways to help that don’t involve adoption and fostering.
“We are in a critical situation,” said Superintendent Jon Gary. “We had a couple rough days last week. We had to euthanize animals for space and that’s something we try not to do ever but the amount coming in and not enough going out, it became reality for us this week.”
Oklahoma City Animal Welfare is bursting at the seams – this week reporting it had 402 dogs and 245 cats in its care.
That’s 135% and 129% over capacity, respectfully.
As they continue running out of space, it becomes less likely that every animal that comes in will make it out alive.
“It’s incredibly hard,” Gary said. “It’s something we dedicated ourselves to not doing anymore but we have to think of the humaneness in housing the number of animals we have.”
Animal welfare is on pace to take in twice as many dogs this month as they did in October of last year.
Overcrowding is a common issue in the summer months but not in October – especially for cats.
“Today we have well over 200 cats in the building and for us, that’s a lot,” said Gary.
While other shelters across the country say they’ve seen a number of pets adopted during COVID-19 lockdowns returned, officials say that’s not happening here.
“We’ve been very fortunate here in Oklahoma City,” Gary said. “We just haven’t seen that. Our return rates have been about the same.”
Aside from adopting and fostering, officials say the best way you can help is to keep animals from coming to the shelter in the first place.
“I know it’s normal, if you find a stray the first reaction is bring it into the shelter but only less than 20% of dogs that come into our shelter get reclaimed by their owner,” said Gary. “They’re actually much more likely to get back to the owner if they’re left in the area where they’re found.”
Officials say if you find a stray dog, try to keep it in your backyard for a few days if you can.
Use neighborhood sites and social media to try to locate the owner.
Oklahoma City Animal Welfare is offering a discount – $30 dog adoptions through the end of October.