TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — In a three day span, two dogs were abandoned at the Terre Haute Society while officials say they’re already at full capacity.
Management believes most animals left behind are ones with pre-existing owners and not strays. Unless the shelter can get assistance from foster homes or volunteers, more animals may be turned away.
“In the eight years I’ve been volunteering at the shelter, I don’t remember it ever being as crowded as it is today,” Carla Artist, a shelter volunteer, said.
As the rise of intakes continues and no kennel room is left, animals at the Terre Haute Humane Society are staying in exam and surgery rooms. In some cases, even offices.
General Manager, Sarah Valentine, said the situation is stressful.
“We want these animals to have the attention they need and they can’t get that attention, or the proper attention they need for socializing when there’s so many of them,” Valentine said.
Currently around 200 cats and dogs are at the shelter. That number doesn’t includes animals already being fostered.
Valentine said reasons for this increase include a lack of spaying and neutering and people ditching their pets, despite staff efforts in telling people, there’s no room.
“If you are being that kind citizen and you pick animal that’s alongside the side of the road, the moment you pick it up that animal becomes your responsibility,” Valentine added. “Don’t be rude if you bring it here and we have no room available. Foster it, call us, and when there is room available, we will take that animal.”
THHS will assist anyone fostering an animal through their provided services, including offering food. In Indiana, animal abandonment can result in a misdemeanor.
Artis said it’s been stressful attempting to care for every animal in the shelter.
“We want to give as much love and care to the animals. When there’s too many, we just feel though like we aren’t able to provide the kind of love and care that these animals need to flourish to become good pets for people,” Artis said.
Valentine added that if the Society were to bring in more animals, it would mean possibly keeping rescues outside, placing cats in dog kennels or dogs in wire crates.
“None of that is what we want to do,” she said. “But, when we say capacity is at none, we mean it.”
Shelter staff encourage anyone who finds a dog to check its collar to see if an owner can be identified. They also recommend having any pet dog microchipped.
On June 25, the shelter re-opened for the first time since the pandemic started, click this link to find out more on adopting or volunteering.