Animal rescuers call this the “dumping season,” when many pet owners go on vacation and refuse to pay fees to board their animals.
“Some dogs are let loose, dumped somewhere or just let outside,” Wendy Johnson, spokeswoman for Melbourne’s Smiling Dog Rescue, said last week.
Johnson’s organization alerted Facebook users to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office’s animal shelter being at capacity and possibly having to double up the dogs in its 50 kennels. She said her group got the word from the shelter’s rescue coordinator.
Conditions aren’t quite that bad – yet – sheriff’s spokesman Tod Goodyear said.
“I know we’re at capacity, but I don’t know if we’re going to be doubling any animals yet,” he said.
Each year at the beginning of summer, he said, the South Animal Care Center, 5100 W. Eau Gallie Road, sees an increase in its animals. For the next few weeks, he said, the center has 69 appointments with prospective pet adopters. And that’s higher than normal.
“Very high,” Goodyear added.
Just what the capacity is for the center, or the current population of dogs and cats, Goodyear wasn’t sure. And other calls to the shelter were referred back to Goodyear.
But Sheriff Wayne Ivey acted on the crowding June 22 by proclaiming a 7-day free adoption special, Operation: Take Me Home with You.
“This not only will help find ‘forever homes’ for the animals, but it’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face,” Ivey said in a promotional video on Facebook.
Through June 29, the nonprofit Sheriff’s Pet Posse is underwriting adoption fees and other costs with free spaying or neutering, free vaccinations and microchips, a month of free food, a kennel, leash, collar and toy.
“Many people say they don’t adopt because of the costs, so we’re paying the costs,” Goodyear said.
Whether seven days is enough to reduce the crowding isn’t known yet, he said. Ivey might extend it an additional week, he suggested.
But he won’t euthanize any animals for inadequate space, Goodyear said. Ivey often points with pride to the shelter’s no-kill status.
“No, he is just not going to do that,” he said.