ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Biggy limps, and he has been living in a shelter kennel since January. The pit bull mutt was 3 years old when his owners, expecting their firstborn child, decided it was too much to take care of Biggy too.
Since then, about 50 other dogs have joined Biggy at the SPCA of Anne Arundel County shelter in Annapolis, enough to stretch the place to capacity. The 14 adoptions over the weekend have eased the strain, but the shelter still needs help to deal with the influx of pets surrendered by their owners.
“We’re stretched for available space and we’re stretched financially,” said Sue Beatty, executive director of the county Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “We just want to let people know that if people were thinking of adopting a dog, now’s the time to do it.”
On the next row over from Biggy, Bough’s got a similar tale. The brown-and-white hound was 2 years old and partially housebroken in January when his owners gave him away because of their new baby.
Next door is a bounding pointer cross named Lassie who arrived in May. She’s housebroken – unless a storm comes. A pink sign clothespinned to the chain-link door of her kennel reads “Lassie has storm anxiety. She should be given Benadryl if a storm is coming.”
There’s Buddy, an energetic cattle dog mix, who landed in here because of a child’s allergies. A 3-year-old chow named Grizzly arrived because his owners couldn’t afford him. A pair of pit bull puppies named Petal and Flower just arrived, too.
“We don’t really know when we might get the spike,” Beatty said. “The economy definitely has more people giving up dogs.”
Sometimes owners move into new apartments that don’t accept pets.
With so many pooches crammed into every available kennel, the shelter is a pungent place.
And the SPCA isn’t the only facility teeming with pets needing homes.
“We’re getting kittens out the ying-yang,” said Lt. Glenn Shanahan, commander of the county’s Animal Control department, which is at capacity with “well over 50 cats in here.”
“Animal Control is crazy inundated with cats in the warm months,” he said. “I think that people put their cats out more readily when it’s warm.”
Those cats either reproduce with others, which get sent to Animal Control, or go stray and land there, too. After five days, the county can put up strays for adoption.
But so far, the county has about 30 of its 84 dog kennels full.
“We do accept give-ups, but people tend to take their give-ups to SPCA and we tend to deal with the strays,” Shanahan said. Beatty stressed that the crowded kennels are not overcrowded, and that all animals continue to get appropriate care.
“We can handle it fine, but we want to get people in to adopt,” she said.
Information from: The Capital of Annapolis, Md., http://www.hometownannapolis.com/
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)