MILTON — Santa Rosa's Animal Shelter is dedicated taking in as many animals as they can, but unfortunately the shelter said they are reaching the point where they have no more room to fulfill that commitment.
So what is the next step? According to Dora Thomason, the shelter director, they are still working that part out.
Thomason said that most recently the shelter had 169 cats, 85 dogs, a pig and a rabbit. She said it is unclear how long the shelter will stay at max capacity but since reaching their limit, the shelter has been working with rescue groups and community adoption partners to take transfers, fosters, and doing discount adoptions to help lower the numbers of animals at the shelter.
"We have not currently suspended intake, although that is something we may have to consider." Thomason said.
Thomason said one thing they are trying to do is develop an intake mitigation strategy to educate residents on how they keep their pets including recommending behavior modification, spay and neuter, fencing, and obedience classes.
"We are also sharing resources about rescue groups and a service called Home to Home, which encourages people to keep their pets at home until they can be matched with a potential adopter," she said.
According to Megan Arevelo, the shelter veterinarian, many of the animals they receive are not in the adoption database due to the fact they are surrendered or not old enough to be adopted, or recovering from surgery or illness.
"They may also be a legal (animal cruelty) hold," Arevelo said.
Arevelo said the residents of the county can help the shelter with lowering the number of pets they take in.
"Kitten and puppy season runs through summer," she said. "However, if everyone spayed and neutered their pets right now, we could drastically cut our intake numbers within two months."
The shelter said residents may seek assistance for spay and neuter services from the local veterinarians and other programs, such as the Barbara Grice Memorial Spay Neuter Clinic and A Hope for Santa Rosa. Santa Rosa County also offers a program that can help reduce the already low cost spay/neuter services at Barbara Grice.
For more information visit, www.santarosa.fl.gov/animals.