Pet Shelters Face Critical Overcrowding

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MEDFORD, Ore. – Pet shelters in Southern Oregon say they’re completely overwhelmed with cats and dogs.

The Jackson County Shelter is now having to send pets to other agencies and parts of the state. They say if the problem gets worse, some animals might have to be euthanized.

The animal shelter says it happens every year, but this year might be the worst. Slow adoption months mean they have to send dogs to other organizations for lack of space.

But that’s nothing compared to the cat problem

“We’ve got more than 50 cats and kittens waiting to be adopted, and another 50 or so kittens that are in foster homes,” said shelter Manager Barbara Talbert.

It’s a problem that the Southern Oregon Humane Society echoes. They say not enough people are spaying and neutering their cats.

And it turns out they’re prolific breeders. They say one pair in four years can produce over two thousand offspring.

“It’s mind boggling,” said the Human Society’s Director of Operations Hillary Hulen. “And that’s why we believe so strongly in spay or neuter here, it’s part of our mission.”

The Humane Society can help fix a stray cat for as little as $25. They say a non-stray can cost well over $60 at a vet. And they say there isn’t a single public spay or neuter clinic in Southern Oregon.

“It’s something that’s going to take a massive spay or neuter campaign to bring under control in the next 10 years,” said Hulen.

That means public clinics, volunteers trapping and fixing strays, and vets coordinating services. The Jackson County Animal Shelter says the alternative is dire.

“At this point because we’re full, if people bring us cats or kittens and they’re not healthy, then we end up having to euthanize them unfortunately,” said Talbert.