Four Corners animal shelters full ahead of kitten season

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FARMINGTON, N.M. –  If you’ve been thinking about adopting a pet, now might be a good time to do it. Animal welfare organization, Best Friends is warning of a national animal shelter crisis. 

Last year, Best Friends discovered that there were 100,000 more pets in shelters across the country – and that increase is continuing to be felt in New Mexico.

Pets are rolling into the shelter but not as many are leaving.

“If we can keep adoptions going, we would be okay, but we are getting one adoption a day, two adoptions a day, when we need like five adoptions a day to keep pace with what’s coming in,” Animal Welfare Director at Farmington Regional Animal Shelter, Stacie Voss said.

And there is no straightforward answer to why less people are adopting.

“I am going to guess it’s just economy and life,” Voss added. “A lot of people are just not adopting larger adult dogs for some reason, and I’m not sure why, but those dogs are staying here longer and longer and taking up more space.”

Now the shelter has reach capacity. Voss said usually they’d get some help, but times have changed.

“Since this is a nationwide problem with shelters across the country, we usually transfer animals out to other areas that have higher adoption rates and not as many animals, and we haven’t been able to do that because our transfer partners are full too,” said Voss. 

And to make matter worse, more animals are expected to come.

“Kitten season has started early this year we are already seeing a lot of pregnant and in heat cats, we have our first mom and babies already coming in, we have some young kittens coming in and so normally we don’t see that until about another month or so,” Voss said.

And kittens are not the only thing expected in the warmer months.

“March we usually see a huge spike in the number of dogs that come in because of the warm weather, so we are really facing some difficult decisions and some hard times if we can’t get some dogs adopted,” Voss said.

Voss added that the best thing you can do is head to the shelter to adopt but volunteering or fostering also helps.