‘We’re busting at the seams.”: Holidays not helping extreme overcrowding at Homeward Animal Shelter

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 6:29 PM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - An increase of cats and dogs into one Fargo animal shelter has left little room left at the inn. Staff have been forced to stack crates throughout the building in an effort to house more pets, and say the problem is only getting worse as the holidays approach.

“There’s a lot of animals needing rescue and not so many animals getting adopted as we would like,” Heather Clyde, Homeward Animal Shelter’s manager said.

Normally at this time of year Homeward Animal Shelter has around 120 dogs and cats, but right now Clyde says they’re sitting at over 170.

“Unfortunately every kennel in the building is pretty much full,” she said.

Today the shelter is taking in five more animals from just one of the local pounds. Clyde says they take in new animals from surrounding shelters and pounds in the metro almost daily. The overflow has left one dog to live in the hallway, and forced three staff members to share their office with 10 cats and counting.

“It’s unfortunate that we keep taking in the same number of animals, so we’re not making a lot of progress,” Clyde said.

She says as many current foster families have holiday plans, the shelter has had to take those animals back in until the fosters return. Clyde says the holidays usually slows down their adoption rates too for the same reason.

VNL reported on similar circumstances at the shelter back in July, and while Clyde says our story did help recruit new foster families and adoptions it wasn’t enough. Clyde says in her perfect world the shelter would have 30 more foster families.

“We have a lot of animals who are seniors or we have dogs who need someone who is willing to work with them an train them, so those types of foster families are invaluable to us,” she said.

As the holidays creep closer, Clyde and many other shelters urge you not to give pets as presents this year because if it doesn’t work out there might not be a place for that animal to go.

“Unfortunately we have to say no to quite a few animals who are needing to be re-homed by their owners because we just don’t have the space,” Clyde said.

Clyde says things usually slow down at the shelter once winter rolls around, but says there’s no guarantees that will be the case this year. Homeward is urging you to sign up to be a foster family or donate to the care of the many animals in their shelter. You can find more information here.

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