Sugar Land’s animal shelter, which was designed to accommodate 31 dogs, is at doubled capacity for dogs, risking the shelter’s ability to accept new animals.

In fact, Sugar Land Communications Director Doug Adolph said if the shelter took in three more dogs, it would not physically have the space to accommodate any more animals. As of May 3, the shelter houses 65 dogs and 43 cats.

To combat shelter overcrowding, the city is trying numerous strategies to incentivize adoptions. Sugar Land recently waived dog adoption fees and is considering financial incentives like gift cards for people who adopt or foster.

The city will also host an adoption event at Brazos Bend State Park on May 6 where it will bring five to six dogs, and another larger adoption event at Fort Bend County Fairgrounds on June 3, Adolph said.

The city is also exploring partnerships with other shelters and nonprofits to pool resources to address the problem of overcrowding, Adolph said. One strategy Sugar Land has looked at is called regionalization, which would dedicate a large central shelter for use by other area shelters.

“I don't think that space challenges are a Sugar Land thing,” Adolph said. “It's really something that shelters throughout the state and country are facing. Everybody has similar challenges.”

Also in March, the Sugar Land Animal Advisory Board amended its policies on euthanization and sterilization so animals will not be killed if the shelter is at capacity or if they have been in the shelter for a long time.

This was in response to the city’s September investigation that found 40 animals were euthanized without authorization over a six-month period. Five Sugar Land Animal Services employees and the shelter manager were fired as a result.