Agencies say the rate of pet surrenders increases.

Rescue agencies in Clallam County have reported that pet owners are trying to surrender their cats and dogs at higher prices than usual.

The Olympic Peninsula Humane Society’s cat and dog facilities in Sequim and Port Angeles have been open for months, OPHS Executive Director Luann Hinkle said, and they have relied on foster families to care for the additional animals because They are waiting for spots to open up through adoption.

The Bark House, located at 1743 Olympics Highway in Port Angeles, hosts 42 kennels, but as of earlier this month it was caring for 99 dogs while the one at 91 S. Boyce Road in Kitty City, Sequim, cared for 93 cats. was caring About 30 animals are on the waiting list and more surrender requests come in daily, Hinkle said.

“We need the community to understand that we can only properly care for so many animals at a time, with the housing, staff and volunteers we have,” she said.

Welfare for Animals Guild (WAG) staff report that they are fielding around 10 calls a week asking people to surrender their dogs.

“The number of adoptions has been very low,” said a WAG staff member.

His Halfway Home Ranch at 751 McComb Road in Sequim was also full of 24 dogs and some foster families were taking in dogs, staff reports.

According to PFOA, Peninsula Friends of Animals, 257509 US Highway 101 in Port Angeles, has also experienced “a large influx of calls from the public for both intake and adoption calls,” especially since the Humane Society is temporarily closed for safety reasons due to disease concerns, according to PFOA shelter director Nancy Campbell.

“This puts a lot of pressure on all of us in rescue, but we do our best to respond to this additional burden and work together to support the animals who are in care despite the difficulties,” Campbell said. needs,” Campbell said.

As a cage-free, no-kill, private 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Campbell said PFOA always relies on city or county contracts or funding with volunteer support to maintain operations. Works without.

Rescue agency leaders said there are many reasons people surrender their pets. Hinkle said this is due to rising costs and access to care for residents has become prohibitive because many local animal clinics are not taking on new clients due to increased staff workloads.

They also saw an increase in adoptions during the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, and as people return to the workplace, now-adolescent animals may develop separation anxiety, leading to unwanted behavior. takes birth.

Animals surrendered to humane societies can also have long stays, Hinkle said, especially large dogs, antisocial animals and those with medical conditions.

Bark House manager Nicole Miller said they have a few dogs waiting to be adopted starting in 2021.

A lack of spaying and neutering services during the pandemic led to more animals in the community, Campbell said. PFOA forced Sequim Animal Hospital to close its monthly community spay/neuter clinic for low-income families after 25 years during the pandemic, but Campbell said officials try to get it back up and running as soon as possible.

“The economy has changed, and more people need financial support for basic animal care and food,” WAG staff/volunteers said in an email saying the biggest issue is the cost factor. ”

At the Humane Society, Hinkle said some owners have become angry and belligerent with staff when they can’t accept a pet the same day because of space.

“People assume that when they’re ready to surrender, they want it right away, but we’re full and can’t take them,” he said.

“It’s really sad that people think that when they need to surrender a dog, we’re not going to help them. We’re not. We want to help each and every animal.

Hinkle said staff face misconceptions that their full potential is due to rescuing animals from high-kill shelters. However, it said that as of Oct. 31, 30 percent of intakes were pets that had been surrendered to owners.

The shelter has also taken in 432 stray pets in the past nine months, she said, and her staff estimates that 60 percent of those intakes are due to owners having financial problems, behavioral problems and/or pet problems. Also referred to other issues like ban on rent.

“They either have to get rid of the animal or relocate,” Hinkle said. “We’re in a housing crisis, and we’re in a rental crisis, and it’s even harder to find a place that rents and allows animals.”

To complicate adoption issues, Hinkle said the senior population in the Sequim area prefers smaller dogs, but most of them are talked to before they even make it to Bark House.

Hinkle said the partnership between animal welfare agencies and rescues has been great.

So far this year, the humane society has moved 30 animals that couldn’t find a new home at its facility to other rescues in hopes of finding a home.

He said that we all work together for the best interest of animals.

One obstacle to the humane society’s adoption numbers is concerns about the contagious and deadly canine parvovirus and feline panleukopenia virus, Hinkle said, which has caused staff to close facilities and close them to the public since March.

Bark House reopened Dec. 1 after being closed to the public for a few weeks and held an adoption ceremony in Port Angeles a day later, Miller said.

During the shutdown, they have been unable to adopt animals from the shelter unless they are in a foster home and have been vetted and cleared, she said.

Parvo can live in the soil for up to a year, Hinkle said, and to help prevent its spread, staff change clothing between each kennel and spray it with a special chemical to kill the virus a few times a day. cleans up

“It’s a lot of stress and work for the staff,” he said.

WAG officials said anyone entering their facility must step into a chemical solution to prevent the spread of the virus.

Campbell said PFOA will also need to address visitors depending on community conditions.

They report that all three local agencies have arrangements in place to screen, spay/neuter and vaccinate their animals before allowing them to be adopted.

Hinkle said Humane Society leaders plan to expand the Bark House by another 550 square feet in 2024, to create more isolation and respite care.

To encourage adoption, the Humane Society is cutting its adoption fees by 50 percent through December 31. This includes spay/neuter, vaccines, parvovirus testing, worming and flea prevention, a microchip and health check/exam.

Staff ask tenants to obtain landlord approval and/or sign a lease agreement. Call the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society at 360-457-8206 or visit ophumanesociety.org.

PFOA also offers an emergency pet food bank to low-income pet guardians with increasing calls for pet food, staff said. For more information about Peninsula Friends of Animals, call 360-452-0414 or visit safehavenpfoa.org.

To learn more about the Welfare for Animals Guild, visit wagsequimwa.com or call 360-460-6258.

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Matthew Nash is a reporter for the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which includes the Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forex Forum. Reach out to him. matthew.nash@sequimgazette.com.


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