North Central News

County pet shelters are at capacity

In the midst of shelter overcrowding, Maricopa County Animal Care and Control is offering tips on how to reunite lost animals with their owners.

Maricopa County Animal Care and Control (MCACC) is facing a shelter capacity crisis. As of mid-September, MCACC shelters are housing 855 animals in 755 kennels, which means some dogs have to share a space in one kennel, and in other cases, kennels have to be split in two.

MCACC says that they are doing everything they can to keep animals comfortable, but the situation is far from ideal — and they are turning to the community for support.

“We cannot address this from within the shelter system alone, we need support directly from the community where animal homelessness begins, which is why we do everything we can to partner with the community,” said MCACC director, Michael Mendel.

To help ease the overcrowding, MCACC is waiving adoption fees on most animals and free adoption events are planned through 2022. The County is also stepping up its efforts to reunite owners with their lost pets. Now in its third month, its Return to Owner Assistance Program helps reunite pets with owners facing financial difficulties. The program subsidizes shelter fees such as boarding, spay/neuter surgery, licensing and rabies vaccinations. In addition, 50 temporary kennel spaces were added outside at MCACC’s West shelter facility with evaporative coolers to make dogs as comfortable as possible.

Residents can help by taking stray animals to a local veterinarian for microchip scanning. If the pet is chipped, this will begin the reunion process. If the pet is not chipped, call 602-506-PETS to make a stray surrender appointment. Lost pets can also be added to MCACC’s Lost & Found interactive pet map .

Those who would like to help in person can volunteer to work directly within the shelter with dedicated shelter teams. And those who have capacity to foster shelter animals can start by visiting www.maricopa.gov/296/foster.

For more information, visit www.maricopa.gov and click on the “Animal Care and Control” link under “Departments.”

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