Hello crunchy friends! I am sharing this story with you because it hits close to home as we have four rescued animals in our family. They bring so much joy into our family! These animals are not the problem but they do need us to find a solution. So…I asked my friend, Kayla from Dream Big Bark Loudly, to give us some insight.
Summer is generally a much-anticipated season, especially in a college town like Tallahassee. Sure, the weather is hot and humid, but for students there is a sense of freedom, and for the rest of us, less traffic. Unfortunately, summer is not quite so exciting for the staff and volunteers at the Tallahassee Animal Services Center (the municipal animal shelter).
For those who work in animal welfare, summer is the dreaded “Kitten Season”. To shelters and rescues, kitten season means a sudden influx of kittens due to the high number of unaltered outdoor cats all giving birth around the same time each year. Unfortunately, it does not mean the intake of other animals slows down to help compensate for this.
In May of 2017, the Tallahassee animal shelter had 212 incoming kittens, many of them without siblings, many of them still needing milk whether or not mom is brought in too. That alone would be stressful, but when you add in the other animals received that month, the total was 596. Between January 1st through May 31st 2017, the animal shelter has taken in more than 2,100 animals.
Despite lowering their adoption fees, the shelter is still bursting at the seams with adoptable animals. Two cats live in the shelter’s meeting room. Some of the most social dogs are paired with new roommates (after staff is certain they’ll get along, that is). A flashing sign out front reads “All cages FULL” and desperate pleas have been shared far and wide on social media. There are so many wonderful animals available.
There is a dozen or so gerbils who multiplied too quickly for the last owner to keep up. Some pet rabbits were dropped off at a wildlife refuge and then sent to the shelter because, well, they weren’t really wildlife. Believe it or not, there are even fully-trained, housebroken dogs and cats. It’s true!
There are animals who were dumped in front of the shelter in the middle of the night with crates and bags of food but no back story. Some were returned due to issues with the other pet in the home, or because their owner simply had a ‘lifestyle change’. A few are strays who could never be called feral. Then, there are dogs who were taken out of bad situations and for the first time they have regular feedings, air conditioning, and access to clean water.
These animals are not the problem. They are not bad dogs and cats. Although they may require some TLC, they are worthy of being loved like any other. If you have been on the fence about adopting or fostering an animal, now is the time. Shelter animals are not the bottom of the barrel. I challenge you to meet some of them! If you think it’s too sad, your heart is in the right place, but push through and go anyways. One person can make a big difference.
Just take a peek into the adoption areas. True, a shelter is no home. Their needs are met and they are loved by staff and volunteers who want to see them adopted. They are just one step away from freedom! YOU have the incredible opportunity to help them get to their forever home. They are not the problem, they’re just the ones who have to live with it. Please take a trip to your local animal shelter and ask them how you can help the animals.