With more owners surrendering their dogs than in previous years, officials at the Williamson County Animal Shelter hope county residents will step up and support the shelter this holiday season.
November tends to have high rates of owners dropping off their pets at the shelter, Director Cheryl Schneider said. But with 111 dog dropoffs so far this November, the shelter has already surpassed the total number of owner surrenders it had for the entire year of 2016, and there is still more than a month to go in 2017.
As of Nov. 28, 111 cats and 103 dogs were being held at the animal shelter with an additional 107 cats and 82 dogs in foster homes. However, that number changes every day, Schneider said, and it varies by time of year.
“Overall, there’s really no rhyme or reason to which month is busier,” she said. “Some years, March is pretty busy for us for dropoffs. But this year, it wasn’t. April was. I don’t know what sparks that, but it does seem [to pick up] right before the holidays and right before spring break.”
Schneider said common excuses the shelter hears are the pet no longer fits the owner’s lifestyle, the owners are divorcing or moving or can’t afford to feed the animal.
“The other issue we’re having is that our adoptions are down,” Schneider said. “We do get more animals coming in the shelter, but not as many leaving. December is usually a pretty good month for adoptions, so we’re looking forward to December.”
It is unlikely that the increase in owner surrenders is because of the growth of the county’s population, she said. If it were, the shelter would have also picked up more animals off the street or have had more animals adopted, but that is not the case.
Schneider said she believes many residents are motivated to bring their pet to the animal shelter, in particular, because it is known to be a no-kill shelter and aim to only euthanize animals when they are a threat to the public or have a quality of life issue.
One way Williamson County residents can help out is to become a foster parent to a dog or cat, she said.
“Fostering is a great way to help us out,” Schneider said. “When we have so many animals in the shelter, we have to figure out something.”
Participants can take home a dog or cat for a weekend or throughout the holiday season. If participants find the experience with their foster animal to be a good fit, adoption is often an option, Schneider said.
“The animal shelters in any community rely on the community to help them remain no-kill,” she said.
You can contact the Williamson County Animal Shelter at 512-943-3322 or visit the website, pets.wilco.org.