For the first time in five years, the Pima Animal Care Center may have to start euthanizing dogs this week due to critical overcrowding as it houses three to four times more dogs than normal.
The center is “critically full” with lost and surrendered animals, mostly dogs, creating stressful conditions for the shelter and the animals, a news release from PACC said. The crowded conditions increase the likelihood of disease spread and injuries due to fighting.
On Tuesday, Monica Dangler, the director at PACC, said they may have to start euthanizing dogs, making it the first time since the new shelter opened in 2017 that they would have to take such action.
“The decision to euthanize is gut-wrenching,” Dangler said in the news release. “The last thing PACC wants to do is take this step. Ultimately, we have to make the decision that benefits the largest number of animals possible, keeping as many animals safe and healthy as possible in hopes that they can be reunited with their families. We’re begging Pima County residents to stop by the shelter to claim their lost pets or adopt or foster. You will, quite literally, be saving a life.”
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The week after July 4 is historically the busiest week of the year for the shelter, the news release said. PACC is expected to see an additional 400 dogs brought in this week. Before the holiday weekend, PACC was already extremely full with 490 dogs.
“We’ve done our absolute best to avoid this situation,” Dangler said. “But we’re the only open-admissions shelter in the county and for weeks we have had far more animals coming in than going out. The monsoon and July 4th only made it worse.”
Community members can help the shelter by adopting or fostering medium to large sized dogs. Another way to help is to hang on to stray animals. Pets that stay in the neighborhood where they are found have an 80% chance of making it back home.
When finding a stray animal, PACC encourages the finder to knock on doors in the area as the pet will probably belong to a nearby neighbour. If the finder needs supplies in order to hang onto the pet, PACC can provide those supplies free of charge.
PACC is open noon to 7 pm, on weekdays, and 10 am until 5 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Jamie Donnelly covers breaking news for the Arizona Daily Star. Contact her via e-mail at email@example.com