Pets enter shelters that are adopted, leaving some with owners with no options
Mitzi is a shy, even anxious cat. The 14-year-old tabby is hiding behind Cathy Bacan’s dresser from her two other cats, which Bacan adopted after his mother died in early summer.
Like the two felines, Bacan inherited Mitzi and a dog from his uncle who died on June 11.
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But the latest round of pets has shown disturbing signs of abuse. This abuse makes it difficult for Mitzi to live with his mother’s two cats, Bacan said.
“They don’t trust anyone,” she said. “The dog was really mistreated by my uncle; he was hitting him with fly swatches, paper, shoes and whatever else he had in his hand.”
The financial pressure of so many animals also weighs on Bacan, so she began to seek refuge without killing who would accept Mitzi.
After nearly a month in his care and looking for a shelter, Bacan is on waiting lists as shelters in Wayne, Medina and Stark counties fill up faster than pet owners can. ‘adopt.
“They all rejected me,” Bacan said. “They said they could put my name on a waiting list, but they don’t have space available because it’s overcrowded with cats and kittens.”
There are more entrances to shelters than those adopted
January and February continued a trend that began during the pandemic: more pet owners have placed cats and dogs in shelters than they have adopted.
In Ohio in the first two months of 2021, 4,646 dogs were housed and only 4,110 were adopted from the state’s 53 organizations. The story is similar for cats with 4,280 protected and 4,078 adopted, according to national data from Shelters Animal Count.
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Shelters across the country, including in Wayne and Stark Counties, have seen an increase in the number of animals in need of homes.
As of July 28, the Wayne County Humane Society reported 212 cats and 51 dogs at its Mechanicsburg Road facility in Wooster. This includes sheltered, stray and lost animals.
In June, the Humane Society welcomed 51 cats and kittens over a four-day period.
Following these two reports, the Wayne County Humane Society organized food and supply drives to deal with the sudden influx of animals.
COVID-19 has kept much of the nation at home, which has led people to adopt pets for the remote work business, said Jackie Godbey, executive director of the Stark County Humane Society.
Now, many are returning their pets to quarantine.
“About 16 months ago, a lot of people were at home and didn’t have pets because they were working fast from 9am to 5pm, five days a week,” Godbey said. “Now people are going back to work and have no time.”
What to do if a shelter has a long waiting list
The short answer: not much.
Godbey said the best thing pet owners looking to house a dog or cat can do is make sure they’re up to date with their vaccines and spayed or neutered.
“We usually have cages open all the time for spayed or neutered animals,” Godbey said. “We need to know the age of the animal and whether it has been spayed or neutered.”
Most shelters put people on waiting lists, but that wait can last for days or even weeks, as with Bacan with Mitzi.
Bacan recommends casting a wide net in the hope that at least one shelter will accept a pet sooner rather than later.
She still hasn’t found a shelter that will accept Mitzi, but she said the moody tabby is starting to open.
“I’d rather see her here and need a lot of work than on the streets without knowing how to survive,” Bacan said.
Contact Bryce by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @Bryce_Buyakie