Overcrowded Shelter May Euthanize Healthy Animals - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Overcrowded Shelter May Euthanize Healthy Animals

560 animals have been brought to the animal shelter in the past week

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    The Fort Worth animal shelter put out an emergency plea for adoptions after taking in 600 pets in the last week, and North Texans turned out to adopt on Tuesday, but still more help is needed. (Published Tuesday, May 22, 2012)

    The Fort Worth animal shelter is so crowded officials say they may have to euthanize healthy adoptable animals for the first time in more than two years.

    Fort Worth Code Compliance, which oversees Animal Care & Control, said it had 151 adoptions on Tuesday and as of 4 p.m. Wednesday another 71 pets had new homes, totalling 222 adoptions in two days. 

    "We're really bursting at the seems right now, and we need a lot of solutions for animals today, tomorrow, the next day and the rest of this week," said Scott Hanlon, Code Compliance assistant director.

    The city shelter took in 560 animals, dogs and cats last week and another 95 on Monday. The capacity of the Chuck Silcox Animal Care and Control Center is 400.

    Unhealthy or dangerous animals that aren't placed with rescue groups still are put down, but officials so far have managed to spare healthy animals. The city has not had to euthanize any healthy, adoptable animals since starting a partnership with PetSmart Charities.

    Hanlon said that this is the shelter's busy season but he has never before seen such a spike.

    Shelter officials said they typically bring in 50 animals per day, but recently have neared 100 per day.

    "This is not a situation unique to Fort Worth right now," Hanlon said. "Other shelters are experiencing the same phenomenon."

    On Tuesday, Farmer's Branch picked up eight dogs from the shelter. But other nearby shelters are also overwhelmed.

    And after putting out a plea for adoptions on Monday, the center's lobby at the center is also overwhelmed -- with people.

    "I just thought it was horrible that all of these animals are going to be executed," said Cynthia Walker, of Arlington, who adopted a teacup chihuahua. "It just broke my heart, so I came by to get him."

    The shelter's adoption hours usually run from noon to 6 p.m., but animals were being adopted out before that and -- if people are waiting in line -- after closing time. Hanlon said Code Compliance doesn't want to return to euthanizing healthy animals after so much recent progress.

    "We don't want to take a step backward," he said. "We've got a real challenge on our hands, and we're hoping to get some response."

    In an effort to encourage adoptions, prices have been cut in half for the rest of the month.

    See the animals online here.