Bay Area shelters make plea to pet owners as facilities overflow with abandoned animals

Tara Campbell Image
Friday, October 28, 2022
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Bay Area shelters are making pleas to pet owners as facilities are overflowed with abandoned animals since the start of the pandemic.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- From cats to dogs, birds to bunnies there's an overflow of abandoned animals at San Francisco Animal Care and Control.

"Across the country rescue groups are full. Other shelters are full, so we're all just kind of playing Tetris at this point," said Ariana Luchsinger, operations manager of San Francisco Care and Control.

The pandemic kept millions of pets from being spayed and neutered. A recent study out of the Univesity of Floridia found more than 2.5 million fewer surgeries were performed in 2021 and 2022.

"It was very difficult to get spay and neuter done during the pandemic. A lot of veterinarian hospitals didn't have capacity," said Virginia Donohue, executive director of San Francisco Animal Care and Control.

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And now, capacity's running out at their facility. The number of small animals -- like guinea pigs and rabbits -- is exploding. The facility is equipped to handle 24, but it is being forced to find ways to hold 80.

"Instead of seeing people coming in with one guinea pig, one rabbit, we're seeing them come in with eight, 10, 12," Donohue said.

Tara Campbell: "How many dogs do you hold at one time?"

Ariana Luchsinger: "Ideally about 60, but we have been over capacity for months. It's been close to 90 for several months."

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Until more foster and forever homes can be found, they're asking people to please not surrender pets.

"Instead, ask your aunt, who's always loved your dog, if she can help. Network within your community before bringing them here," Luchsinger said.

"We're making a plea to try and to stop the incoming while we get everyone placed," added Donohue.

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