Washington Humane Society has to take in record number of stray animals
The Washington Humane Society says it's seeing more homeless cats and dogs in the District than ever before. Shelter officials are implementing a new incentive program to make it cheaper to adopt an animal.
Shelter manager Lexi Lepiarz struggles to fit all the animals into her space on some days.
“I just get really creative. I like to introduce different animals and see how social they are and I just use any space I possibly can,” Lepiarz said.
Shelter officials say it's common to see more homeless animals in summer months. People are out and more likely to see stray animals on the street and bring them to the shelter. Pet owners are also more likely to move during the summer and leave their animals behind.
Lepiarz thinks the recent heatwave may have forced stray animals into neighborhoods in search of water. “We see so many animals coming in that we just don't have the resources to take care of,” she said.
On average, shelter officials say they take between 700 and 800 animals a month. This summer, they're up to 1,000 a month.
“It definitely puts a strain on our financial resources as well as our staff resources because with that number of animals we have to work extra hard to make sure they have all the stuff they need as well as the socialization,” Scott Giacoppo of the humane society said.
He says volunteers, rescue groups and foster homes help them take care of the animals.
“There are times when we call people and say ‘I know you have two cats in foster right now, but gosh, we just got a cat with kittens and do you have anymore room?’ We have 300 people in foster care for us now and we need more,” Giacoppo said.
The group is trying to promote adoptions with discounted or no fees on some animals, like pitbulls and adult cats.
“When these animals do get adopted, that's the best feeling in the world,” Lepiarz said.
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