The Harris County Animal Shelter in Houston, Texas took in over 200 surrendered pets over Memorial Day weekend, 100 on the Friday before the weekend alone. In a city of over 2 million, Houston’s shelters are frequently at or over capacity, but for a facility only designed to hold 150 animals, this is an extreme burden. Kennels are designed to hold only one or two animals, but at the moment there are some pets living four-to-a-kennel.
Most were formally surrendered, but at least one wasn’t. A small poodle was found in a crate outside the shelter in Tuesday in weather that climbed to temperatures of over 90F later in the day. He was left with a note asking the shelter not to put him down and to find him a good home. The owner claimed to be unable to afford to care for the dog, and apologized for leaving him.
The reasons people gave for surrendering their pets ranged from issues like housing, financial problems, time, etc., but there’s no clear reason as to why so many people chose to give up their pets all at once. A representative for the shelter speculates that many may have wanted to give up their dog for the sake of their upcoming vacations but couldn’t say for sure.
This video posted to the Harris County Animal Shelter’s Facebook page shows what it’s currently like in kennel area.
The shelter and pets in their care are in desperate need and are asking the public for help. Even if you can’t adopt or don’t live in the Harris County area, you can still make life better for these pets.
If you live in Harris County and can temporarily open your home to a pet, consider fostering for the Harris County Animal Shelter. Fostered pets will still be adoptable and listed on the County Pets website, and the shelter will provide medical care should the pet need it. You can also volunteer with the shelter. A lot of pets means a lot of dogs that need to be walked and a lot of cats that need to be cuddled. The shelter has lots of opportunities for volunteers to make an impact in the lives of their pets without taking one home.
You can also donate wherever you are to help feed and provide medical care for all the pets living at the shelter. With so many new mouths to feed, they are in urgent need of food. There is also an Amazon wishlist available online if you’d like to help supply the shelter pets with items like beds, blankets and food.
If you’re having trouble caring for your dog and are considering surrendering your pet, first check out this list of programs that can help you pay for your pet’s bills. You can see more resources for assistance at the Houston BARC website.