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Pulaski County animal shelters fear euthanizing pets due to overcrowding

Some Arkansas shelters are fearful of having to euthanize cats and dogs due to overcrowding issues.

PULASKI COUNTY, ARKANSAS, Ark — A few central Arkansas shelters fear having to euthanize a lot of cats and dogs because of overcrowding. Little Rock Animal Village along with the Sherwood and Jacksonville animal shelters all posted on social media about their shelters being at full capacity.

The Sherwood Humane Animal Shelter posted on Facebook page an urgent notice that were zero available kennels and that adoption fees were waived for all sterilized animals.

The Little Rock Animal Village followed up a similar post by explaining that because there's no room, they're worried about now having to euthanize dogs.

"The Little Rock Animal Village is 110% FULL, a dozen new faces are coming in every day, and these three have somehow been there for months."

Betsy Robb is the Friends of the Animal Village organization president supporting the Little Rock shelter. She said the shelter is currently housing two dogs to one kennel. 

"They're a municipal animal shelter. Legally they have very little control over the number coming into the shelter. So, if the number going out via adoptions or rescue pulls isn't matching that that's when they'll have make the really hard decisions," said Robb. 

As a volunteer, Robb said she can't imagine being on staff and walking into the shelter everyday knowing there could be the possibility of putting an animal down due to lack of space.

It's hard on volunteers as well, but that's why they keep showing up to support.

Robb said spaying and neutering your pets is critical. A part of the reason for overcrowding comes from cats and dogs creating multiple litters which contributes to the homeless pet population being brought into the shelter.

The organization has a list of low cost options here

Maumelle Friends of the Animals posted on their Facebook that a blue bucket full of 9 puppies were dumped on the side of a road.

"Please folks, go get your pets fixed! No excuses! Help us out here. Rescues and shelters can't take it anymore."

One of the best ways people can help right now, according to Robb is to foster. That would open up space in the shelter so that euthanizing the animals won't occur.

"It's just like dog sitting. Everything is provided for you. It's really not as challenging as you think. Yes, saying goodbye is hard as it should be, but it's really really rewarding. When you get that first adoption update pic of one of your fosters it just makes it all worth it," said Robb. 

In Jacksonville, Animal Control director Jamie Parker is having to turn away two women who brought a puppy in to the shelter as a surrender. 

A sign outside of the shelter reads: No Animals Brought Into Shelter Before Contacting Shelter Employee. 

The women claimed that the original owner threatened to dump the puppy in the streets, because they no longer wanted it. They lived in Jacksonville, but the owner lived in Cabot. 

Not only is the Jacksonville shelter getting full, but Parker had to explain they couldn't accept an animal outside of city limits.

Parker works as the supervisor of the Jacksonville Animal Shelter

She said there's numerous reasons why the shelters are getting full. 

"It's kitten season, so because they're not spayed or neutered we're getting a lot of litters. We get stray dogs that run loose that nobody every comes to reclaim. We give the owners five days, but they end up having to be adopted out. Meanwhile, they take up a kennel," said Parker.

She said they try to keep animals as long as they can, some even staying for up to a year. 

"We only usually euthanize if they're not adoptable because they're too aggressive or unhealthy. Those were the only reasons. Here lately it's been touch and go," said Parker. 

Touch and go meaning that there's been times when they've decided to euthanize one animal, when that same day someone will come in and adopt or foster, thankfully making space. 

"I got an officer out there right now, fixing to pick up three strays that are loose. I have 50 full size big kennels, then I have a few smaller kennels. I'm trying to find foster for one of my mama dogs, and it's a really easy process," said Parker.

She said fosters would be supplied all of the food and medical bills until they can get them adopted.