Animal Foundation at capacity, urges adoptions

LAS VEGAS - The Animal Foundation is taking in an alarming number of cats and dogs and urging the public to postpone bringing in unwanted pets until next week.

They are at capacity, but their non-profit license does not allow them to turn away animals.

Summer is the busiest time of the year for the Animal Foundation. Officials with the shelter say the influx of animals is due to a number of reasons, including people acquiring unwanted litters or not being able to care for their pets anymore.

The Animal Foundation currently houses 800 to 1,000 animals. That number fluctuates depending on the number of daily drop-offs and adoptions. Currently, more people are leaving their pets at the shelter than adopting them.

In an effort to free space, the Animal Foundation is offering discounts. People can adopt pit bulls and pit bull mixes for $40. The Animal Foundation is also offering 50 percent discounts for all other animals that are six months or older.

"There are no guarantees. I mean there's no perfect situation in any of this. You know, you want to do the best for the most animals that you have," said Animal Foundation Director of Development Andy Bischel.

While the Animal Foundation is at capacity, and few kennels are empty, officials with the shelter say most adoptable pets are finding permanent homes.

"We haven't had to euthanize for space in over two years," Bischel said. "What that means is every healthy, adoptable pet that has come in through the front door has had an opportunity and space in adoption to go out to adoptions. That doesn't mean we're not euthanizing."

Bishel says they had to euthanize animals that are too sick, old or misbehaved. He says 50 percent of the animals they take in are put down. Seventy percent of dogs are adopted; 30 percent are euthanized.

When it comes to cats, the numbers are flipped. Thirty percent of felines are adopted. Seventy percent are euthanized. Bicshel says the reason is due to most of the cats being feral.

In addition to adoptions and spay/neuter services, the shelter relies on foster families to ease some of the overcrowding.

Fostering programs also provide normalcy to a pet while it waits for a permanent home. The Animal Foundation works with other non-profits to place dogs and cats in temporary housing.

The organization A Home 4 Spot provides 50 foster homes for dogs. Each home can have as many as three canines. A Home 4 Spot takes care of all medical expenses, vaccinations, microchips and food. Some foster pet parents are limited in the amount of time they can care for a pet.

A Home 4 Spot board member Debra Hood-Smith says anyone who's a responsible animal lover can foster a pet.

"If you have a little smidge in your heart to open up your heart to one of these animals, to these animals, you're saving a life for sure, because they cannot speak for themselves. That's the sad aspect. We've done this as humans, as citizens. The situation is our problem. It's not theirs," she said.

The Animal Foundation also has its own fostering program. The shelter seeks people who can look after puppies and kittens until they're old enough to be adopted.

Last year, the shelter placed 10,000 animals in permanent homes.


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