SF Animal Care and Control over capacity, urges public to delay surrendering dogs

SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco Animal Care and Control says it is overcapacity as a shelter and asks families to try to delay surrendering dogs to them as much as possible.

A backlog in spaying and neutering animals nationally has impacted shelters around the Bay Area.

“The problem we have right now is we’re overcapacity, so we have animals that are available for adoption, we’d love for people to come and adopt them, but we’re also packed full of stray animals and a group we called custody animals,” said Virginia Donohue, executive director of SFAAC.

Donohue explained that custody of animals are cases where there was a family emergency.

“Normally we handle about 500 of those cases a year. Last year we handled over 800, and this year we’re on track to repeat that number. So that’s way, way more animals than we’re used to,” she told CBS Bay Area News.

Those animal custody cases can include a family where someone was hospitalized or someone died, as well as someone going to jail, or losing their home to a fire.

It’s just one part of the problem as a national delay of three million spay and neuter procedures led to a lot of backyard breeding around California alone.

This impacts SFACC by having more animals come into their care, those animals needing to stay longer, and having less options to transfer animals to other shelters.

“We’re jammed full, we have no room, but if, if you are having difficulties like, maybe there’s some way we can help you and your pets stay together,” Donohue said.

SFACC has resources to keep pets and their humans together. They have a regular low-cost veterinary clinic and a quarterly vaccine clinic. They also offer a pet food bank.

The increase in animals coming into the shelter isn’t just dogs, it’s also guinea pigs and rabbits. Donohue says they’re getting twice as many rabbits in six months compared to normal.

“It’s a misconception that the pets here are damaged goods, most of the pets here at the shelter are awesome pets, I have a few myself,” she said. “They are here because things happen to their people, there’s nothing wrong with the animals.”

In an effort to encourage more adoptions, they’re waving the fees associated with that process for guinea pigs and for dogs five months and older.

“Yeah, I don’t think you can find anybody in this building who wasn’t adopted.” Donohue said of her employees. The love of animals they share keeps them going even during tough times at the shelter.

“You get to help a lot, a lot of San Francisco animals and in conjunction with that you also end up helping a lot of people,” she went on to say.

By hadem