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Guilford County animal shelter almost full with surge of animal surrenders

Guilford County Animal Services said the July 4th weekend brought a surge in animal surrenders.

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Guilford County Animal Services said it is seeing a surge of animal surrenders and the shelter is nearing capacity. 

Guilford County Animal Services Director Jorge Ortega said adoptions are down at the facility and surrenders are up.

"We do see a high number of animals coming into the shelter in the summer and also we have a lot of folks relocating, moving, or just for a lot of reasons going on in their lives that they’re having to surrender their pets during the summer," Ortega said.

Ortega noted that they are seeing more dog surrenders than cats, which he said is unusual. He even said some people are surrendering animals to go on vacation even after they offer to give them food and a kennel to travel with.

"It is disappointing and it’s discouraging because here we are trying to provide these resources to keep the family together," said Ortega. 

There are several reasons, Ortega said, that people give up their animals but rising costs could be a factor. 

"Some folks that have to worry about if they only have one paycheck they have to worry about everything from rent to food and if pets are involved in the equation they also have to make sure they are able to afford the daily care if not the annual care for their pets," Ortega said.

GCAS has started a Mobile Assistance Pet Center program where they go into the community and offer different services to prevent people from surrendering their animals. They also have a brand new facility, but GCAS officials say it can still be a stressful experience for the animals.

"It's still a very high (stress) environment when you have a large number of dogs and large number of cats," Ortega said. "So for that animal to come into this environment it is very stressful for them and if we are crowded like we are today it’s going to take us a while, hopefully not, but it will take us a while to find a new home for that pet."

RELATED: Guilford County Animal Services seeing rise in surrenders, hoping new mobile center will help

The Forsyth Humane Society said they have not seen an uptick in surrenders but typically see more animals during the summer months.

"The industry calls it puppy and kitten season and it’s in the summer months where we see a high intake of cats and dogs," said Carrie DuPre with the Forsyth Humane Society.

DuPre said they see about 200 more animals a week during this time. 

Both shelters are participating in the Empty the Shelters event with reduced adoption fees starting on July 11 to hopefully get more animals into homes.

RELATED: Guilford County animal services provides tips to keep pets safe this holiday


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