ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Animal Services is at near capacity with dogs and is asking adoptees to step forward.
A spokesperson with Orange County Animal Services said Wednesday there were 175 dogs being cared for. Over the last week, the shelter had received 109 dogs, 34 of which were surrendered by their owners, according to a news release.
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“It’s been happening more and more. There’s multiple reasons. Sometimes during the holiday, some people start feeling the financial strain, so usually a luxury like a dog is the first thing to go,” said Bryant Almeida, of Orange County Animal Services.
News 6 asked Almeida if the pandemic has anything to do with the latest increase since many shelters across the state cleared out while families quarantined at home.
“I’m sure there are some of those people that are returning them after the pandemic. People started returning their dogs. They realized it was a lot more responsibility than they originally thought,” he said.
Although the shelter just celebrated its longtime resident, Cano, finding a forever-home, 35 dogs — which have been spayed, neutered, vaccinated and microchipped — are awaiting immediate adoption.
“We’ve leaned on our community before in times of need and have never been let down. We hope we can rely on that support again as we ask for adopters to step forward for these available dogs,” Diane Summers, manager of Orange County Animal Services, said in a release.
Jo Harper showed up at the shelter on Wednesday morning after finding out through social media the shelter was at near capacity.
“I know there so many that have been either found astray or brought back or dropped off and people don’t have time for it. Don’t want it,” she said.
Due to limited kennel space, the shelter is asking owners to explore other alternatives before surrendering their pups, such as asking friends or family, contacting local rescue groups or rehoming.
“We always ask that people make the shelter the last resort. Not the first resort or not the first option. We ask people call your friends, call your family. Call your neighbors,” Almeida said.
Also, Furry Fall Festival, an adoption event, will take place at Animal Services from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday.