CINCINNATI — A national database tracking animal shelters is warning many are full and “entering their fourth year of having too many animals and not enough adoptions.”

The director for Shelters Animal Count has called it a “national capacity crisis,” and local shelters are feeling the impact.

“We’re exceeding our max capacity at this point for dogs on site,” said Jessica Grimes, senior foster manager at Cincinnati Animal CARE.

Grimes said the shelter has been dealing with this problem for some time.

“I do think that a lot of people are going through a housing crisis right now,” she said. “People who are moving or going through eviction or losing their homes.”

Pets can be expensive. Veterinary care can be too.

Grimes said the shelter is seeing an influx of litters and puppies and encouraged pet owners to ensure they spay and neuter their pets to prevent new births, leading to more sprays.

Microchipping is key, too, so shelters can ensure stray animals can be reunited with their owners.

Recently, Cincinnati Animal CARE ran out of towels and blankets. After a plea to the community, Grimes said the public stepped up.

“We now have a surplus of blankets, which we appreciate,” she said.

Grimes said the shelter could still use donations of dog food, as well as supplies for kitten season.

The shelter especially needs volunteers and fosters, as well as people to adopt some of their pets.

During a recent Valentine’s Day adoption event, the shelter found homes for close to 100 dogs.

“(It) was amazing, but a lot of those dogs came from foster homes, so it didn’t make a huge impact on the site,” Grimes said.

Meanwhile, at Boone County Animal Services, the number of dogs and cats coming into the shelter has been relatively stable.

The shelter’s biggest current challenge is that it has been closed to the public since January for adoptions, but is continuing to take animals in. The grand opening for the new shelter is scheduled for March 16.

Staff at the shelter is hopeful that the number of animals in its care will decrease once adoptions can resume.

At Kenton County Animal Services, the shelter went from being over-capacity over the summer to being under-capacity as of late last year.

“I wish I could say that they’re black and white solutions, but a lot of it is really getting lucky,” said Kelsey Maccombs, Kenton County Animal Services director.

The shelter saw increased intake last year, but Maccombs said the shelter was able to amp up its foster network. The shelter has also used social media to better connect strays with their owners.

“We get many calls every single day for folks who can’t keep their pets for whatever reason, whether it’s, they can’t afford it, they’re moving into a place that doesn’t allow pets,” she said.

Grimes wants owners in that position to know that help is available. Many of the shelter’s animals are strays.

“These dogs are coming from somewhere,” she said. “They’re coming from homes. They’re coming from people and a lot of people don’t know that there are resources available that can help you before you get into crisis mode.”

You can learn more about Cincinnati Animal CARE’s resources here and Kenton County Animals Services here.

By fersz