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County Animal Shelter is asking for the public’s help – The Ukiah Daily Journal

Richard Molinari, shelter manager for the Mendocino County Animal Shelter, said a recent Facebook post brought attention to a serious concern: an overabundance of animals housed at the shelter.

On June 14, Molinari posted this appeal: “Unfortunately, the animal shelter is currently 100% occupied. We are looking at possibly euthanizing the dogs for kennel space at the end of the week.

Fortunately, according to Molinari, the community response began to lessen the immediate crisis. The Inland Humane Society accepted 6 dogs, which allowed the shelter to breathe a little, as well as the adoption of 11 other dogs. A June 17 post said: “We are doing much better by having additional open kennels and no animals had to be euthanized due to lack of space. Thanks to the community and the Inland Humane Society for helping out this week.

But, with summer approaching and kitten season approaching, Molinari warns that the shelter is by no means out of the woods. He appeals to the public to help reduce the population by managing his own pets and considering adopting one of the shelter’s many skilled animals. He notes that this crisis is felt across the country.

“Coming into Covid, our community was awesome. People adopted dogs which freed up space in the kennel so we had a low population for quite a while. Coming out of the pandemic, the fund plummeted. Hundreds of shelters and relief organizations across the country are all flooded.

“For six years, we never had to talk about euthanasia to solve space problems,” explains Molinari. But there are only a limited number of kennels, and a large number of dogs increases the risk of spreading illnesses like kennel cough, and increasing what is already a stressful environment.

“We have been operating at 100% capacity for six months and recently found ourselves unable to accept abandoned pets. Our animal control officers were doing their best to bring the animals back to the field, but that only puts a band-aid on the problem,” he continues.

Several factors have led to this unintended fallout from the Covid era.

“People started delivering animals after Covid. They were returning to work and unable to spend time with their pets. Others have found themselves working fewer hours and having difficult decisions about buying gas, milk or pet food.

The shelter responded to these issues by offering pet adoption fees with a 50% discount.

“Unfortunately, and unlike other times in our history, this has not had a significant impact on the kennel population. In today’s fragile economy, animals are the low hanging fruit when it comes to balancing the household budget, even the price of animal feed has increased.

Several other factors have led to the increase in the kennel population.

“We are seeing more and more animals escaping, escaping and having bad behaviors. It’s hard to find time for your dog if you have two jobs and take care of children and family members. If dogs don’t get the daily attention they need, they will get creative and do things they don’t usually do. Escape dogs can become fearful and destructive, and fines for this behavior can be steep. »

“In other cases, possessed animals are not recovered. By the time you pay for impound fees, medical care, and food costs, you could be talking thousands of dollars. For many families, the question becomes, ‘Am I paying these fines or am I putting food on the table?’ »

During Covid, the number of neutering and neutering surgeries dropped, creating a larger population of dogs and cats that people were unable to care for. This week again, a cat was brought to the shelter. She soon gave birth to six healthy kittens.

“Before Covid, our clinic and mobile van performed 3,000 mobile sterilization surgeries a year. In the past two Covid years, that number has dropped to 2,000 surgeries. We are dependent on the goodwill and schedules of a team of veterinarians to assist us, whose practices have also been affected by the pandemic. Hopefully there will be a full time vet at the shelter in the future. We can only castrate and sterilize so much. We could fill our van five days a week, and I don’t know if that would really make a difference.

With kitten season on the horizon, Molinari expects overcrowding to impact cat kennels. Other problems are increasing the local cat population.

“We have a lot of cat hoarders. We recently helped someone who owned 80 cats. We have worked with several people with up to 40 cats. Our relatively mild climate allows cats to thrive. Cats acclimate well to heat, so we have cat problems in our county.

What can the public do to help reduce the kennel population?

“On our website, we have a section called ‘Responsible Pet Ownership’. It’s there to get people asking the big questions about pet ownership. It’s a big responsibility. Pets patients can cost thousands of dollars.

“Pet owners sometimes don’t do the right thing. These are the basics of responsible pet ownership, and we’re asking the community to review these tips and make sure you’re doing your best to keep your pets safe.

Pet identification, with microchipping, licenses and name tags is essential to keeping shelter numbers low. “Before Covid, we were identifying 2,500 animals a year. We want pets to arrive with ID. We want to reconnect animals with their owners and make sure this never happens again. The faster the owners get the animals back, the cheaper it is.

In addition to identification and licensing, Molinari asks that the animals be vaxxed.

“We offer rabies and microchipping events at cost, which cost $12 for both services. We have at least two of these events every year. Identification is priceless. If your dog enters, we will call you and ask you to pick up your pet as soon as possible.

Molinari asks pet owners to focus on making it difficult for animals to escape.

“Check your fence. Discuss with your children the importance of keeping your dog fenced in and not leaving doors open. We don’t want bad things to happen to animals when they escape their homes. Cars and loud noises scare them. We don’t want to have to make the hard call to your family if we find your pet injured or killed. Make sure they have access to water and shade. Imagine if you were outside in this level of heat and what you would need to stay comfortable. This kind of community cooperation and assistance helps keep animals out and helps them get out faster.

“We will have a wave of animals related to the 4th of July fireworks. Please keep your pets indoors, put your pet in an isolated room and put on some music. Dogs will jump fences, run into traffic, and hopefully someone will bring them here. Cats are also frightened by fireworks. We recommend that you keep your pets indoors several days before and after the 4th of July.

For those who must return their pet due to changes in living conditions such as moving, Molinari directs people to the “Rehoming” link on the Refuge’s website.

“When people register to rehom their pet, the information is seen by many potential owners. Due to the capacity of our shelter, we sometimes have a waiting list for those who need to rehom their pet. pet, so we will ask people to go through the rehousing process, which is the industry standard.

And of course, a number of dogs and cats are ready for their forever homes today. The shelter has a few new protocols.

“When Covid hit our front door was locked. Today, we still keep our doors locked, for several reasons. With the dogs, we plan visiting hours. Dogs need around 16 hours of sleep. By booking visits, they sleep better, we reduce their anxiety levels and take care of healthier dogs. We have a book at reception where you can view adoptable pets. If the day is busy, we will schedule an appointment. You can go online, view all adoptable pets, fill out an application ahead of time, and we’ll call you to schedule a visit. For those who wish to adopt cats, you can come and see them during opening hours.

There are other ways to help the shelter. Volunteer Orientations are held the second Saturday of the month at 9:00 a.m. Call the shelter number and leave a message for Amy Campbell to register. Pack walks take place every third Saturday at 9 a.m. “Certified volunteers can take one of the dogs for a walk. This gets the dogs out of the shelter and makes them happier, healthier and more adoptable.

Since the shelter uses specific brands of pet food, pet food donations are discouraged. “If we receive unexpired food, we donate it to Plowshares or families in need. We always need towels and bath sheets, blankets, collars, leashes in good condition and paper plates,” says Molinari.

“We really have a lot of great dogs right now – puppies, senior dogs and a lot of foster kittens that will soon be in the pipeline. We are still running the special half-price adoption offer. The process can be done online, but we still have old-fashioned paper forms that can be picked up at the shelter or printed out.

“We are weathering the storm and we have a plan. Hopefully we will have a calm fire season because if we are full we will not be able to accept many animals if there is a fire. With the support of the community, we hope to see a return to normal in about four months,” concludes Molinari.

The refuge is open Tuesday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The refuge is closed from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. for lunch.

For more information, visit the Mendocino County Animal Shelter Facebook page, the Animal Care Services | Mendocino County, CA or phone (707) 463-4427