The SPCA Albrecht Center and shelters across the nation are at critical capacity.
The housing crisis, fears of the looming recession and the pandemic have caused an unprecedented crisis in animal sheltering. The crisis caused South Carolina animal shelters and rescues to declare a state of emergency last week.
The SPCA Albrecht Center ran out of kennel space weeks ago, and we are now forced to set up temporary crates to house the animals who are continuing to pour into the Albrecht Center. We are at risk of closing intake for homeless animals at one of the worst times of the years for shelter animals. Historically, we see a slowdown in adoptions at the end of summer as families return to busy school-related activities. We also are facing staffing shortages and are facing peak hurricane season in the next few months.
In the past, the SPCA Albrecht Center has taken in animals from coastal communities facing a hurricane evacuation emergency. There is no sign of the sheltering crisis letting up, and it may, in fact, get worse. We are in dire need of our community’s help and must move these adoptable animals into forever homes now.
To address the crisis, the Albrecht Center waived adoption fees during the entire month of August for all adult cats and dogs in order to make adoptions more affordable to the public. We will continue with special promotions throughout September.
The crisis also caused a bottleneck of shelter animals who are waiting to be altered before adoption. To address the bottleneck, we organized additional days to perform spay and neuter surgeries for shelter animals.
During a four-day surgery blitz last week, we performed over 60 spay and neuter surgeries for shelter animals at the Albrecht Center. We were only able to accomplish this feat with the help of contract vets and the hard-working staff of the Albrecht Center. They are the unsung heroes of animal rescue who spent their Labor Day holiday weekend helping shelter animals. Our staff literally does not take a day off and are caring for our beloved shelter animals 365 days a year – no matter how many animals there are.
To help with this community crisis, we ask anyone considering adoption to prioritize your search for an adoptable animal by visiting the Albrecht Center during open hours or visiting our website at LetLoveLive.org for a listing of our adoptable animals.
If you cannot commit to adoption at this time, please consider providing a temporary home for shelter animals by becoming a foster family. Fostering a homeless animal is a rewarding way to help animals in need. A foster family not only helps the animal they are fostering, but the family also helps make space for the next homeless animal coming through our doors. Our foster families also provide much needed relief to our staff by reducing the number of animals at the Albrecht Center. Anyone interested in fostering can check out our website for details or email our foster coordinator at [email protected].
Community members can also help lost pets find their way home by searching the neighborhood where the lost pet is found, instead of immediately taking the pet to a shelter. It is likely that a lost pet is very close to his or her home. Lost pets can also be temporarily housed in the area where the pet is found while posts are made on social media notifying neighbors and the community of the lost pet. Many times, neighbors will recognize the pet and assist with the safe return of the pet to the family before the pet ever goes to a shelter. Also, community members can make sure that your own pet has clearly identifying contact information on the collar and a microchip so that finders can quickly return a lost pet to you.
There are many other ways community members can also help shelters during this state of emergency. Social media significantly increases the chances shelter pets will get adopted so please share the SPCA Albrecht Center’s social media posts. Or come to the Albrecht Center and take your own photos and videos for sharing on social media.
Also, encourage family and friends to adopt a shelter animal instead of shopping for one at a pet store. If you are a veterinarian or a vet tech, consider helping shelter animals by offering your services to help spay or neuter shelter pets.
If you are a business owner, we can send an adoptable cat to promote at your business, much like the adoptable cats we keep at the SPCA Thrift Store. Business owners can also sponsor a fundraiser or host an adoption event. As always, we are also happy to have monetary donations and volunteers to help us with the sheltering crisis. We offer other ways you can help on our website at LetLoveLive.org.
We know that if we all work together, we can continue to help thousands of at-risk animals in our community.