Pinal County animal shelter overflowing with pets; may have to rethink no-kill policy

Pinal County Animal Care and Control is struggling to house all its animals right now, and they are asking the community for help.

Shelter officials say that they’ve had more owner surrenders than usual this past month, and they may even have to reconsider their no-kill policy.

The large influx of animals started in April, and it keeps getting worse, officials said. From owner surrenders to strays, there are more animals that the shelter can afford to house.

Pinal County Animal Care and Control Director Audra Michael says summer is usually their busiest month, but it’s only May, and they’ve already far surpassed the amount of animals they had this time last year.

"It’s fast this year," said Michael. "It pretty much happened within the month. and we have three buildings. We had one that was only half full - now it’s completely full."

Michael says she thinks part of this is a result of the pandemic. With many people working from home this past year, many jumped at the chance to adopt and foster animals. In 2020, the shelter was low on animals.

Now, as things are opening back up and people are getting busy, some are choosing to surrender their new pets.

"A lot of people…are moving, and they can’t take their pet or they’ve gone back to work ,and just don’t have time for their pet - stuff like that," Michael said.

This center has gotten so overcrowded, to the point that shelter officials are worried they may not be able to remain a no-kill shelter much longer.

"Those that are less adoptable that we’ve had and have been working with - we are going to have to start taking a second look at those if we continue to stay full," Michael said.

Pinal County officials are community members to step up and adopt or foster, so that these animals can find their forever home.

"They don’t even have to adopt, just foster them to get them out of here, maybe network them on their social media," Michael said. "That seems to help us get animals out quicker."

The shelter is also starting up a new program called Home to Home, so that those do need to surrender their pet can connect directly with those interested in adoption so that the animal does not need to go into the shelter at all.

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