With the Sherman Animal Shelter currently operating at 191 percent capacity, the site is working on new tactics to get cats and dogs in new homes. To reduce overcrowding and lessen the number of animals that have to be euthanized, the shelter has decreasing its adoption fee for the month of July.

The Sherman facility is not a no-kill shelter, brings in more than 2,500 animals a year and only has a 50 percent live-release rate.

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“It's the week after Fourth of July,” Sherman Animal Services Manager Ty Coleman said. “Most shelters dread coming into work July 5. That is the day when we get a lot of dogs in because of the fireworks. We try to educate dog owners prior to the Fourth of July so they know to put their dogs up to keep them from escaping.”

The shelter is currently offering animals at a reduced adoption fee of $25. The normal $50 goes towards micro-chipping the animal, tests, vaccines and spayed or neutered costs. Coleman said the reduced fee will still provide all the same services as normal.

The shelter is also increasing its number of off-site adoption days. Generally, the shelter brings animals to local pet stores on Saturdays and Sundays, but Coleman said he is hoping to include Thursdays and Fridays to the schedule to get more exposure for the animals.

Coleman explained that while the shelter has been operating at over 185 percent for several months, it recently reached 191 percent.

The shelter has had more animals this year than last year. With 40 kennels for dogs, the shelter has been having to double up on housing by putting two dogs in each kennel. While the shelter would prefer to keep it to no more than two, Coleman said they have had to have three to a kennel at times.

The shelter uses factors such as behavioral issues as well as health to determine which animals to euthanize due to space constraints. Coleman said the shelter can house animals as long as there is space, but right now there is not enough space to do so, and since the city invests nearly $200 per animal to keep them at the shelter, it is much cheaper to euthanize but not ideal. He said the shelter would prefer to find homes for the animals.

In addition to the issue with too many dogs, there is also an increase in kittens being taken in by the shelter. Coleman said a lot of times people will bring in a litter of kittens without the mother. Since the shelter cannot feed them, the kittens are euthanized.

If someone finds a litter of kittens on their property, it is better to call the shelter to come out because they can trap the kittens with their mother. Coleman said cats are easier to house due to their smaller size.

The Sherman shelter brings in close to 2,800 dogs a year, Coleman said, and the shelter has about a 50 percent live-release rate.

“We are working on improving that live-release rate,” Coleman said. “We're hoping by October to sustain a 90 percent live-release rate. We're making a lot of changes. We're working on doing an in-house spay and neuter clinic on site. We're looking to get a vet on site because right now we outsource all of our medical treatments and surgeries.”

What do you think about the Sherman Animal Shelter overcrowded? Let reporter Richard A. Todd know by email rtodd@heralddemocrat.com.