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Animal control sends out 'urgent plea' over 'disturbing trend'

Animal control sends out 'urgent plea' over 'disturbing trend'

By Kevin Keen. CREATED Jul 17, 2013
PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - It's a record the animal shelter wishes hadn't been broken. Dogs and cats are showing up at Pima Animal Care Center like never before, and they could be in trouble. What's going on? 
 
At the west side county-owned shelter, kennel after kennel is packed with pooches.
 
“It's a little heart wrenching,” one man said.
 
“We just want to take them all home, but we can't,” another man said. “One at a time.”
 
The four-legged population here has broken an all-time record, staff reported. Last July there were about 678 cats and dogs in the facility. This month, there are about 70 more.
 
That might not seem like a huge jump, but the people keep turning in dogs and staff continue to collect more strays. The center’s taken in more than 1,040 so far this month. That averages to 70 a day.
 
The center calls the influx a "disturbing trend."
 
Because of the spike -- which started about six weeks ago -- "conditions are critical" at the center. Some cages now hold five dogs. Staff would prefer there’d be at most three.
 
“It's like being in a clear home for several days, living with a bunch of relatives for way too long,” said center manager Kim Janes. “The stress level goes up, immune systems are depressed, illness can take hold.”
 
Staff can't pinpoint one cause, but think more people are learning you can drop off an unwanted pet here for free.
 
Unless more people adopt or foster, staff said more sick dogs could be euthanized. They could be ones that -- at another time -- may've been nursed to health but cannot be now because of a lack of time and space.
 
Staff hope it doesn’t get to that point and have issued an "urgent plea" to the public.
 
“It's sad. Your heart goes out to each one,” said Vicki Korth, who was at the center looking for a new dog. “But we can help. If you need a dog or if you want a dog, came out and show your heart to the dog. See if he's for you.”
 
On the bright side: there has never been more options for those dog lovers looking for a new friend.
 
If you can't adopt or foster a dog or cat, you can volunteer at the center. Staff need a lot more hands to take care of all those paws. Detailed information is on its website.