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  • KOLR10 News

    Local animal shelters reaching capacity

    By Bethany French,


    SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Animal shelters in the Ozarks and across the nation have too many cats and dogs in need and not enough room to care for them all.

    Watching Over Whiskers has a three-month wait list to take in new cats and Rescue One is getting close to having 500 animals in their care.

    One reason Watching Over Whiskers is seeing so many cats and kittens coming in is because of the season and the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “What happened was all of those cats that had appointments to be spayed or neutered, you know, didn’t, it didn’t happen, you know, middle of March through in many cases, all the way through June or July,” said Marci Bowling, founder of Watching over Whiskers. “Depending on the backlog at the clinics and the low-cost clinics. And so by then, they were pregnant and giving birth.”

    The months-long pause in vet care created a snowball effect, where cats began having kittens and that cycle continued.

    Rescue One said dog owners are returning their pets that were adopted during the COVID shutdown. Some reasons include puppies growing up, changes in financial situations and owners not spending as much time at home.

    “We took in almost 200 in the last month and had about 100 adopted,” said Michele Rehkop, Adoptions Coordinator with Rescue One. “So we definitely, it’s not an equal take in, you know, going out. So then there’s that remaining and then it just continues to build each month.”

    “Even if we adopt 30 to 40 cats a month, you know, if there’s ten litters on our waitlist and there’s five to eight set of kittens in every litter,” Bowling said. “That math doesn’t work out very evenly. So that’s the problem.”

    Both Rescue One and Watching Over Whiskers are only taking in animals in emergency situations and rely on volunteers, foster parents and donations to help the animals in their care.

    “We don’t have a shelter setting, so if we don’t have fosters, we can’t take in animals,” Rehkop said. “The more fosters we have, you know, we can open intakes back up to more. It doesn’t have to just be emergency cases it.”

    Both shelters said they are always looking for volunteers, foster parents and for more animals to find their new homes.

    Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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