That’s the message from the Hornell Area Humane Society, which posted a Nov. 14 message on its Facebook page announcing the agency’s shelter is over capacity and is not accepting routine animal surrenders until the situation changes.
The Humane Society said calls to the shelter from people wanting to surrender pets — both cats and dogs — are at an unsustainable pace this year, with single-day requests sometimes matching what the shelter would typically receive over a month’s time.
And adoptions have not kept pace with the influx of new arrivals, according to Sandra Rapp, Humane Society executive director. Rapp said the current situation is unprecedented for recent times.
“At least in the past five, ten years, we have not had this issue with capacity,” Rapp said. “At this point, we are not taking in any new animals unless when we do dog control or an emergency situation, like somebody finds an animal that’s been hit in the road, and it needs immediate medical care and the owner can’t be found.”
Dog kennels full, as many as 80 cats at shelter
The Humane Society’s animal shelter, located at 7649 Industrial Park Road, has 15 dog kennels, “but we have much more than 15 dogs,” Rapp said.
In addition to the canines, there are approximately 70 to 80 cats currently at the facility, Rapp said, so many the animal clinic area is being used to handle the extra numbers.
Another 20 to 30 kittens have been placed in temporary foster homes.
While the situation at the Hornell shelter is acute, it’s not unique.
“It’s not just us. It’s (been difficult) for most shelters and rescues across the board (that) are struggling with a huge amount of folks wanting to give up their animals,” Rapp said.
The reason for the ballooning surrender numbers is not easy to pinpoint, Rapp said.
“We’ve always had people wanting to surrender their dogs when they get to a certain age. They were cute puppies, but cute puppies that weren’t trained or worked with turn into older dogs, harder to handle,” she noted.
The Hornell shelter has also investigated multiple cruelty cases in recent weeks and months, resulting in more animals being housed locally, Rapp said.
How to help the Hornell Area Humane Society
While the Humane Society lists multiple ways to help, financial donations are very much appreciated, Rapp said.
“Everything has gone up, whether it’s veterinarian fees, the price of dog food, the price of cat food, the price of litter, medicine, all those items have increased,” she said. “Our heating bills, our insurance bills, everything has really increased significantly.”
Donations of supplies are also needed.
Other ways to help the Humane Society include:
- Adopt: “We have oodles of amazing dogs and cats right now that would be over the moon to find their forever home,” the Humane Society said in its Facebook post. Find adoptable pets here and an adoption application here.
- Volunteer: The Humane Society always needs dog walkers and help with cleaning kitty kennels. Learn about more volunteer opportunities here.
- Foster: Provide a temporary home to a shelter pet to get them out of the stressful shelter environment. Check here for more information.
- Amazon Wish List: Check out the Humane Society’s Amazon Wish list here.
The humane society will also host its annual Thanksgiving Bake Sale Wednesday, starting at 10 a.m., in front of Maple City Discount Liquors in the Hornell Plaza on Route 36.
Rapp couldn’t estimate when the no-surrender designation would be lifted.
“It is hard to tell. This year has been very different compared to past years,” she said. “It really depends on adoptions. We are hoping in December that our adoption rates do pick up. Sometimes it is hard for people to adopt right before Christmas, but then there are others who really like to adopt at Christmas time.”
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