Animal Services Manager Noura Jammal estimated that roughly 300 animals come into the shelter each month during the summer.
Jammal said she does not believe the rise in strays and pet surrenders is due to the COVID-19 pandemic but rather a normal trend the shelter experiences.
“Due to the fact that a lot of people are moving or going on vacation, they decided that the animal they adopted is probably not the right fit for them,” she said. “It is also baby season for a lot of animals in general, so we see a lot of puppies and kittens come through the doors.”
She said adoption rates for the city often reach 85%, well above the estimated national average of closer to 50%, according to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
A dog or cat must be at least 8 weeks old before being eligible for adoption which can contribute to higher shelter capacity numbers, Jammal said.
“It just makes the problem worse because the shelters are only big enough for so many animals,” she said. “We have kittens and puppies and all these animals coming in and we just don’t have the space for them.”
Even with capacity issues, Jammal said the shelter only euthanizes an animal if it is exhibiting unusual signs of aggression.
“As long as the animals are healthy, happy and not aggressive, then they'll be here for as long as we can hold them,” she said.
The shelter is not accepting new volunteers but it is working on an online orientation class. City officials said the shelter hopes to resume normal operations in the fall.
Jammal said support from the Richardson community is essential to the shelter’s operations.
“They’ve donated food and supplies, and just have been super helpful,” she said.
Donations are accepted through the shelter’s website at www.cor.net/departments/animal-services. Visitors must schedule an appointment by calling 972-744-4480 or visiting www.richardsonanimalshelter.setmore.com.