The sterilization crisis has led to overcrowding at animal shelters in Marion

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Marion County animal shelters are at capacity as shelters across the state are struggling with the most animals they’ve seen in years.

Meeting or exceeding capacity is nothing new for the pound as the organization does not have the ability to refuse stray dogs or humane cases.

Currently, the pound has 22 dogs, although it only has 20 kennels, and two dogs are currently in crates, according to Dog Warden Scott Mills. In spring, the the facility housed 32 dogs.

“This year, it was quite outrageous. We had a really bad problem with overcrowding,” Mills said.

“Last week we got to the point where we put the dogs in the garage in crates because we didn’t have room,” he said Wednesday.

Mills said he doesn’t know why this phenomenon occurs, but he does note that it happens beyond the walls of his facility.

“I don’t know if it’s because people are still battling the pandemic or what and they just can’t afford to keep their dogs anymore, or I don’t know what it is. Every shelter is in trouble. Not just ours,” he said.

Director and founder of Homeless to Home Animal Rescue and Cat Sanctuary, Jeanine Tarantino, said that although her facility has always been overcrowded, she has seen an exponential increase in the number of animals, especially cats, due to the pause of sterilization surgeries during the COVID-19 pandemic. .

Tiny, a young boxer, is available for adoption at Marion County Dog Pound.

“COVID of course negatively affected everything, but coupled with COVID, Governor DeWine banned surgeries for so many COVID months,” Tarantino said.

“He applied that to vets, and that included neuters. Those were actually essential, and we’re finding out why every day.”

She added that many shelters have closed or limited their services, a situation that has put a strain on homeless people who have not closed their doors or their services during the pandemic.

The greatest need to help the ever-increasing number of animals being born, she added, would be the construction of an on-site spaying clinic: a plan the organization hopes to realize in the coming years.

Tarantino said Homeless to Home is also always adding more staff and expanding its extensive network of foster homes.

At the Marion Area Humane Society, the shelter is not only at full capacity for dogs, but it’s also seeing the same surge in numbers for cats, said Riley Bails, adoption and volunteer coordinator.

“I think we have about 140 cats right now, 60 of which are kittens under eight weeks old, so there’s definitely a neutering and neutering crisis going on nationwide, and we’re really feeling it,” he said. Bails said.

“We’ve been hit pretty hard.”

Bails also said she believed what she called “the sterilization crisis” was the main reason for the shelter’s overcrowding.

“There are a lot of animals that aren’t spayed or spayed. Backyard breeders are a big reason we take in a lot of dogs,” she said.

“I think that’s where the problem starts and then we pick up all the pieces behind and end up with all the animals that need all the help we can give them.”

Both Bails and Mills said they are always looking for volunteers and donations of food and cleaning supplies, as well as individuals and families interested in fostering or adoption.

“We have good dogs, some quite adoptable who love children, cats and dogs. We have a lot of greats right now looking for a home,” Bails said.

Red is a Lab-Pit Bull mix that is available for adoption at Marion County Dog Pound.  Friday was to be his 400th day at the shelter.

For more information on pet adoptions:

Marion County Dog Pound: website, Petfinder Account and Facebook page

The Marion Area Humane Society: website, Petfinder account and Facebook page

Homeless Animal Rescue and Cat Shelter: website and Facebook page

Story by: Sophia Veneziano (740) 564 – 5243 | [email protected]

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