Animal shelters across the country are facing some difficult times as more people begin dumping animals off due to concerns over the COVID-19 crisis.
Denison Animal Welfare Group and Sherman Animal Shelter are becoming overcrowded as it becomes more difficult to find homes for the animals.
Sherman Animal Services Director Ty Coleman said his shelter is a 157 percent capacity for dogs. He said he isn't currently turning to euthanizing animals. He said he will continue to try to find innovative ways to get people pets. Sherman is still holding its pet adoption days at the Petco parking lots on Saturdays and Sundays. He said since it is an open, outdoor space it is still deemed safe.
Sherman has also turned to temporary fostering pets for those who wish to help relieve the burden by taking home a pet for the short term.
"With us managing the foot traffic in the shelter it gives us more time to care for the animals, letting them out and provide any extra behavior attention they need as well," Coleman said. "This is the perfect time to start on basic training. Spend quality time with the pets that are used to us being gone."
He said there hasn't been any staffing changes as of Monday.
Coleman said people shouldn't worry about their pets contracting the virus as there are no studies that show animals can carry or transmit the virus.
As far as social distancing is concerned, the biggest impact it has had on the shelter is delaying the upcoming animal services fare that was set for early May. That has been delayed until further notice.
As of right now we're hoping some of transfer partners open back up soon," Coleman said. "We're taking it day by day. All we can do right now is promote our adoption animals to the public. It is spring time now, this is when intake numbers go up. We're getting prepared for overcrowding."
DAWG is taking adoptions by appointment only. Sherman is accepting people in groups of five.
Both shelters are facing difficulty getting homes for the animals.
DAWG President Stephanie Phillips said one of the issues for her organization is the public adoption events have been put on hold. That makes it hard for the nonprofit to get financial donations as well as finding homes for the pets.
"We're taking appointments right now, doing meet and greets outside of the facility," Phillips said. "We will supply food, a crate and everything the person needs for the pet."
The Denison pound is not currently taking in animals from owner surrenders but will continue to make nuisance calls.
Philips said her staff has not been impacted by the closures she has enough to keep everyone busy cleaning and caring for the animals
She said the negative impact has mostly been in donations. She said people typically donate at the mobile adoption events which have been canceled temporarily. With the facility closed to the public people can't come in and make a donations either. She said they can donate online.
"The hardest part for DAWG is the uncertainty," Phillips said. "Other shelters in the country have had animals dumped on them. While that hasn't happened here it has caused some of the shelters we could typically ship to becoming crowded. All the transports have been put on hold."
She will use social media to share profiles of the animals to help find them homes.
She is also considering boarding some animals at boarding facilities that are not getting animals as people stop traveling across the country.
She said groomers are also hurting. She is doing what she can to help keep those businesses operational.
She said adoptions are what helps the most. Those wishing to make an appointment with DAWG can send an email to denisonanimals@gmail com
Overcrowding is becoming an issue. The ASPCA transports have been halted. She is working to find other transports to save the stray animals they obtain.
Another side effect is the foster field trips have been stopped. Individuals who want to foster an animal temporarily is still an option. Philips said donations are more down and the shelter is suffering as a result.
Philips said they have not started euthanizing for space yet. She is going to fight to ensure that doesn't have to happen. She said she will get more creative in finding solutions
She said it is still safe to walk pets and take them to the dog park. She said even while people have to social distance themselves doesn't mean they can't take their pet outside. She also said it it’s a good idea to pay attention to the pets to keep them stimulated.