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Shelters in desperate need of the public's help

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Posted at 4:53 PM, May 10, 2024

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)—The San Diego Humane Society is pleading with the community to adopt, foster, and spay/neuter their pets as they are overcapacity. Shelters across the county are in a critical state of overpopulation.

Brian Daugherty, the Executive Vice President of the San Diego Humane Society, said the shelter has over 1,600 animals in its care, over 600 of which are dogs. However, according to Daugherty, the shelter only has 385 kennel spaces and has been at around 150% capacity for a year and a half.

They are headed into the summer, when they typically see their peak, with more dogs than ever.

Gary Weitzman, the President and CEO of the San Diego Humane Society, said the shelter is seeing a higher number now than it usually does in the summer. He said that number usually triples in the summer.

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“This is a national issue," Daugherty said. "Shelters everywhere in the country are overcrowded. It makes it harder to transport animals from one area that’s experiencing overpopulation to another. So it’s a critical juncture for shelters across the country.”

Despite the challenges, the San Diego Humane Society's commitment is to maintain zero euthanasia of healthy and treatable shelter pets, according to Daugherty.

People can help animals in need by adopting them. If you can't adopt, consider fostering. ABC 10News met Nina Thompson, Director of Public Relations at the San Diego Humane Society, last year about this same story.

“There is a huge need right now to support homeless pets," Thompson said. "Every shelter is full. Every rescue is full. So please consider adopting if you have space in your heart and in your home. If you don’t want to do something permanently, maybe start with fostering."

While at the shelter, ABC 10News met Sweetie, an American Pit Bull Terrier Mix who has been waiting since March 5. Thompson described him as a "gentle giant and the sweetest boy ever."

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Click here to learn more about Sweetie.

Those interested in adopting should plan to spend a couple of hours to half a day at the shelter, according to Nina.
“Our adoption process is first come, first serve, so you basically visit one of our campuses; we're in San Diego, Escondido, El Cajon and Oceanside," Thopson said. "You come and visit us, look through the animals, then you sign up to speak to an adoption counselor and you have an in-depth consultation, one-on-one to make sure it’s a good fit.”

You can adopt any dog, puppy, cat or kitten for just $25 through May 15 through the Empty the Shelters National Pet Adoption Event.

Click here to learn more about adopting a pet.

If you can't adopt, you can foster. For those willing to open their home to a pet for a short period, it's an easy process. You fill out an application online, complete online training, and get to take home a pet after a consultation with a foster specialist.

The shelter provides all the food and medical supplies; you just provide the space and the love.

"If you can take a pet for a weekend, a week, a month, it doesn’t really matter; we need the help because we’re so overcapacity,” Thompson said.

The impact fostering has on the animals is priceless.

“They act differently in the home," Thompson said. "We learn what they’re like, what they react to. If they’re a couch potato, if they’re very active if they like to live around other cats or dogs. So fostering is a huge help in terms of identifying a future good fit in a family, but it also creates space here in the shelter for another pet that needs us.”

Click here for more information and to sign up to foster

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Fostering helps the pet de-stress from the shelter and come out of its shell.

Right now, the shelter needs fosters for every type of animal, but especially large dogs, for any length of time. The shelter provides the food, supplies, and medical care—you just provide the space and the love.

The biggest way you can help is by adopting an animal. If you can't adopt, you can foster or spay/neuter any pets you have. They also have a great need for dry dog food and can always use more towels and blankets or you can donate to their Amazon wishlist.

Click here to learn more about donations.

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