When I opened the email from WHS yesterday afternoon the very first line was, "WE NEED ADOPTERS!!!"

Well, what else is new? They always need great homes for their homeless pets, right? I kept reading and discovered much to my dismay that the shelter is drowning in pets. Warrick Humane Society has 91 animals currently up for adoption at the shelter and placed in foster homes.

"Our adoptions have slowed to a trickle. We cannot keep going without adopters stepping up for these animals."

And, WHS isn't alone. I've seen posts from Daviess County Animal Shelter in Owensboro and Vanderburgh Humane Society posting similar please in the past week.

Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash
Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

Why is there an influx of unwanted pets?

WHS went on to say that they've had 400+ owner surrender requests this year. PBS recently aired an interview explaining that many people adopted while they were home during the pandemic. But, due to sharply rising costs in care, they simply can't keep animals. I know from personal experience that vet bills have skyrocketed in the past few years. At one time, I could take my dogs to the vet and expect to pay around $50-75 for annual checkups and shots. Now, a basic exam and vaccinations cost over $300 per pet. If your pet experiences a medical issue or emergency, you are looking at at least a $150 vet bill and people simply can't afford the care so they are returning their animals.

There are also those who didn't realize how much of a commitment you have to make to an animal. Most animals take time to train and pet owners do not have the patience or know-how to deal with some unwanted behaviors.

WHS explained that because they are a no-kill shelter there is no way to make space for more animals to come in and when owners surrender their pets, so they have to turn away pets from high-kill shelters when an owner surrenders their animal.

Our shelter is at MAX CAPACITY yet it never fails that EVERY DAY, we get at least one phone call or email where someone wants to surrender their animal. And if it isn't one of those routes, we have someone knocking at our door asking us to take their animal. We just can't do it anymore. As a No-Kill shelter, WHS does not euthanize for space. However, we partner with many groups that sadly do have to make that heartbreaking decision. Every time we take in an owner surrender, that’s another spot taken away from an animal in a kill-shelter that has a time-clock. We are unable to take any more animals at this time because of how full we are. This hurts not only our shelter, but every facility that we partner with. And it is draining our staff members. PLEASE help us by NOT giving up on your pet!!!

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How to Save Money on Animal Care

The shelter has offered cost-saving tips for those who think surrendering is the only option.

  • Vaccine Clinics - WHS offers a monthly affordable vaccine clinic to help cut down your expenses. I've attended the clinic and it's worth the wait. Tractor Supply and other shelters also offer these clinics.
  • Doggie Daycare - Have a high-energy dog? Let them go have a fun day out and burn some of it off.
  • Research Vet Costs - not all veterinarians charge the same price. Call around.
  • Utilize Tools - Have a destructive dog? Use a quality kennel to keep it from chewing up your home.
  • Look Into Insurance - There are many insurance companies that offer both preventative care and emergency care. You can spread out the cost over an entire year of the prevention so it's not such a big hit to the wallet at once.
  • Prevention - preventative measures can save you thousands down the road. Heartworm medications, quality food, and safe toys are all great places to start.
  • SPAY OR NEUTER YOUR PETS - come on people, this is a no-brainer.
Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash
Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

Be Kind - Always

The final piece of the letter was just kind of heartbreaking to me but it didn't surprise me in the least. I remember sitting at my daughter's school PTO booth last year on Meet the Teacher Night. A parent came in and yelled at me that we didn't offer appropriate signage or a map to where she could find her daughter's classroom and left me with the suggestion to "do better next year." Jokes on her, I'm not on the PTO Board this year but this woman's blatant rudeness to a parent volunteer stuck with me.

Our staff members work extremely hard day in and day out to make sure the animals in our shelter receive the best care possible. Yelling at us, using nasty language, or getting upset that we will not take an animal off your hands does not change the fact that we are completely full. Many of us have multiple fosters in our own homes just because we are out of space at the shelter. Please realize that this job is not easy and we are doing our best. Staff members are exhausted, mentally and emotionally drained, and putting in long hours. Your kindness can go a long way in affecting our team.

The staff and volunteers at WHS - and all animal shelters - aren't there for the money. They are there because they care about the well-being of homeless animals. Rudeness is not becoming on anyone and if you are rude to a person who is simply trying to find a homeless pet a home, well, you are a special kind of ugly.

Special Anniversary "Sale"

Today is the first day of the WHS 40-Year Anniversary Celebration!

Join them in celebrating 40 years of saving lives in the Tri-State by finding your new best friend! ALL adoptions will be 40% OFF from today until Sunday at close.

Check out the adoptable animals at WHS and consider fostering or adopting today!




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