Skip to main content

Combatting Animal Shelter Overcrowding

Animal shelters across the country are desperately calling for help. Many of them have reached a breaking point and declared maximum capacity. With more animals arriving every day, shelters have reduced adoption fees in hopes for more animals to be adopted. However, they are still struggling to relieve shelter overcrowding.

What Caused Extreme Shelter Overcrowding?

There are many reasons for shelter overcrowding, the most prominent one being the pandemic. According to Kansas Humane Society, spay and neuter surgeries were considered “elective.” This reduced the number of animals getting spayed and neutered for over a year and a half and resulted in a 30-40% increase of domestic animals.

Returning to Work

As pandemic restrictions lifted, some pet owners are returning pets due to work demand. Animal shelters have seen an astronomical increase in their “return rate” as former owners cannot care for their pets anymore. One example from a shelter included people leaving bags of kittens and puppies on their doorsteps after it had announced maximum capacity.

Kitten Season

About 1.4 million cats lack a loving home, and more continue during April-October. Female cats can get pregnant at as young as five-months-old, so they can produce several kittens in one year. These newborn kittens usually live as strays and remain not neutered. Furthermore, lost pets also contribute to shelter overcrowding. Only 30% of lost dogs are reclaimed by their owners, leading to even more animals staying in shelters.

Ways to Help Shelter Overcrowding

If shelter overcrowding worsens, shelters may have to turn away animals one day. Here are ways shelters can combat this crisis:

Continue advertising animal adoption –

Many shelters have reduced fees and made adopting easy. With each adoption, some shelters already include spay/neuter and microchip procedures and vaccinations. One way to increase adoption is to host shelter events! Gather adoptable pets and volunteers who can easily advise potential adopters. Make sure to host at a location that can accommodate a high volume of visitors. Some shelters have had over 50 animals adopted in one day!

Promote animal fostering –

To reduce overcrowding, consider implementing fostering programs. Many shelters have provided food and supplies. This allows foster parents to focus on caring for their temporary pet! A foster family recruitment campaign on social media could be one way to promote this need.

Consider fundraising or promoting donations if your shelter has reduced adoption fees –

Donations do not have to be monetary. Pet care donations such as food and litter boxes can make a world of a difference! Recruit local businesses to help with this as well. Businesses may want to underwrite the cost of reduced fees or serve as a drop-off point for pet supplies. Costs add up to take care of all these animals.

Remind the community to spay/neuter their pets –

The best way to reduce shelter overcrowding is to stop the fast pet reproduction. Again, social media is a fast, affordable, and effective way to get the word out about the importance of spaying and neutering.

Share information about the overcrowding crisis with your local media –

People may not be aware that shelter overcrowding is a problem. Involving your local media outlets, especially television, is a great way to tell your shelter’s story.

Promoting Animal Adoption Through PetBridge

Our mission at PetBridge is to save animal lives through adoption. The software we create and maintain allows shelters and rescues across the nation, to promote pet adoption with seamless and user-friendly pet adoption tools. We’ve also developed sorting functionality and pet alert features so that families looking for a specific pet can get their perfect match faster and more efficiently. We’re proud of our partners, and we commend all shelters for their work. They are going above and beyond to combat animal shelter overcrowding. If your shelter or organization could benefit from improved adoption software, please look at our site or schedule a demo today!




Author PetBridge

More posts by PetBridge