The City’s dog shelter has filled to near-capacity, and officials worried about the health of the animals are slashing adoption fees and asking residents to hold onto strays they find in the streets until more space opens up.
Animal Care and Control has seen a steady increase in the number of dogs taken in as strays and those that pet owners are no longer able to care for — shelter Deputy Director Kat Brown said Thursday. On average, kennel intake is up by 25 more dogs a month than in previous years — the majority of which are Chihuahuas and pit bulls. The shelter’s 95 dog pens are almost completely occupied.
“We’re seeing an unusual number of dogs, and they’re just not moving,” Brown said.
The reason for the increase is uncertain.
“The economic downturn is not helping,” Brown said. “It’s hard for people to commit to a dog right now.”
Brown said the shelter works closely with other rescue agencies in The City to avoid having to euthanize animals, but those kennels also are filling and it affects animals’ health.
“It’s only a matter of time before they either become sick or kennel-crazy,” she said.
Three-month-old Maybeline, a lab-pit bull mix, jumped up and down excitedly in her pen Thursday morning. Brown said the puppy came to the shelter as part of a litter of five, and her four siblings have already been adopted. “She’s the only one left,” Brown said.
To help relieve the overcrowding, Animal Care and Control is asking the public to temporarily house the stray dogs they find and to register them with the shelter until room is available.
The shelter also is lowering adoption fees for dogs by half through Sept. 12. Normal fees run between $135 and $175.
“If people knew that we’re here, and knew that we have some really, really great dogs, they would open their hearts here in San Francisco,” Brown said.
The shelter is located at 1200 15th St. in the Mission district and is open from noon to 6 p.m. seven days a week. It will be closed Monday for Labor Day.