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Shelter overcrowded

September 9, 2010

The Catawba County Animal Shelter re-opened Tuesday, and after two days, the shelter is back to overcrowded conditions.
The shelter housed 119 cats and dogs at noon on Thursday, which exceeds the shelter’s capacity by 41 animals.
But for Jane Tse, of Hickory, surrendering her dog to the animal shelter Thursday was her only choice.
Tse’s daughter died in October, and she has cared for her daughter’s dog since her death.
“She was just too sick to take care of (the dog),” Tse said.  
The dog is ill, however, and Tse can no longer afford to pay for the animal’s care.
“The fleas just cling to it,” she said. “I just can’t afford to care for it. With my fixed income, I couldn’t afford to pay for the expensive (medicine).”
So, she brought the dog to the Catawba County Animal Shelter in hope the shelter could provide the animal with better care than she could.
But the animal shelter, with a limited budget, can’t afford to pay for the dog’s flea treatment, and it’s unlikely someone will adopt a sick animal, said Jay Blatche, Catawba County Animal Services manager.
“Every animal that comes in here is not adoptable,” he said.
The shelter is required to hold an animal for three days before a decision is made to keep the animal or euthanize it.
“You learn a lot about an animal in three days,” Blatche said.
Sixteen animals on average are euthanized every day at the shelter. Blatche said there’s no specific amount of time an animal stays in the shelter before it is euthanized.
To prevent overcrowding and euthanizing animals within the shelter, animal services staff members work to discourage owners from surrendering their animals to the shelter.
“We do everything we can,” said animal services employee Jennifer Sigmon. “We ask them why they’re dropping off the animal. If it’s a reason we can come up with a possible solution, we try to give them that option.”
 

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