Local shelters seeing record number of surrendered animals

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — The Tacoma & Pierce County Humane Society is reporting a record number of surrendered pets. Owners are complaining they’re struggling to keep up with rising pet fees and deposits at rental properties.

“Our pet support team has been seeing an increase in urgent owner surrenders needed particularly around housing issues right now,” said Lindsey Heaney with the Humane Society.

Heaney points to data collected by Human Animal Support Services that suggests in Pierce County alone, 18,000 pets are at risk of eviction in the next 30 to 90 days.

In response to the overwhelming influx of animals, the Humane Society is waiving all adoption fees for the next two weeks.

Across the county line in Olympia, Joint Animal Services is overwhelmed too. This week their shelter doubled in size, after Thurston County officers rescued 147 cats from horrendous hoarding conditions. Executive Director Sarah Hock says roughly 50 of the malnourished felines are kittens.

“We are seeing more puppies, more kittens than we’ve ever seen,” said Hock. “We have animals coming into shelters, but we have less and less animals going out and it becomes a cascading effect.”

Hock agrees the housing crisis is contributing to the problem. She also believes a shortage of veterinarians and a lack of access to spay and neuter surgeries are contributing factors.

“It becomes a perfect storm,” said Hock. “Across the nation, we are seeing lower adoption numbers.”

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