For the past several months, the number of dogs admitted into Alachua County Animal Care and Resources has far exceeded the number of dogs leaving the shelter. This has resulted in too many dogs in shelter care far exceeding the shelter’s and staff’s capacity: the number of dogs currently in the shelter is 50% above the number of housing units for them. This also exceeds the capacity of the staff to provide proper care. Together, these conditions have resulted in a decline in animal health and welfare as well as staff welfare. They have reached a crisis point requiring immediate and decisive action to remedy the situation. The goal is to quickly reduce the number of dogs in the shelter by temporarily stopping admissions of owner surrendered pets and healthy stray dogs that are not a public safety threat and focus all shelter resources toward finding community placements for the dogs in their care. The Alachua County Commission has granted a 60-day emergency shutdown to achieve this goal. This strategy has been successful for other shelters across the country this year and is the quickest, most effective way to restore a balanced population where the number of dogs entering equals the number of dogs leaving.
Lastly, we would like to emphasize that this overcapacity situation is not unique to Alachua County AR&C. Most shelters across the country are in the same boat: the numbers of new dogs admitted are increasing daily while there is a significant decline in number of dogs leaving through adoption. This means there are more dogs than shelters can humanely house and the dogs are staying for weeks to months longer than they normally would before finding a home. In addition, just like veterinary practices everywhere, as well as most businesses, animal shelters are suffering from severe understaffing, including our shelter here in Alachua County.
Pets and Pet Owners
Find a Lost Dog this July 4th? Keep Them in the Neighborhood to Get Them Home.