May 16, 2023 - News

Charlotte animal shelter is desperate for help as it loses kennel space

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care & Contro

Aries plays great other dogs, likes car rides and walks, knows how to sit, will lay with a treat. He has gotten better at greeting friends and people. Photo courtesy Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care & Control

CMPD Animal Care & Control expects its ongoing troubles with kenneling the influx of dogs to get worse this summer.

Why it matters: AC&C fears it will face the difficult decision of euthanizing dogs down due to lack of space.

What’s happening: “A perfect storm,” Melissa Knicely, public information officer at CMPD Animal Care & Control, tells me.

  • AC&C is about to be 50 kennels short as it undergoes renovations to bring its 30-year building on Byrum Drive into compliance.
  • The number of stray dogs coming in hasn’t slowed down since 2021, per Knicely.
  • Plus, summer is the shelter’s busiest time of year. It’s “kitten season,” when litters are born at higher rates.

“All these things happening at the same time is going to really, really push us for space,” Knicely says.

  • “We don’t want to seem like it’s us crying wolf again because, in the past two to three years, I realize that we’re constantly putting messaging out there about being full.”

How to help: The best thing people can do is foster. Ideally, only animals who need help with medical or behavioral issues would be kept in the shelter, Knicely says.

  • You can learn more about volunteering here. AC&C is fast-tracking applications.
  • If you have a vacation this summer, AC&C will make arrangements to take care of the foster while you’re away. Even a long weekend or two weeks of fostering could help.
  • The longer dogs are in shelters, the more stressed they become, and the harder it is to find them homes.
Name: MeganID: A1204017 Age: 4 years Gender: Spayed Weight: 50 lbs Date of Arrival: 11/21/22 Vaccinations: Has all required vaccinations Has been microchipped CMPD Animal Care & ControlCMPD Animal Care & Control
Megan is four years old and has been with the shelter since November. She loves “her people,” walks and car rides — but she may need a boost getting in. Photo courtesy of AC&C

Zoom in: The first year of the COVID-19 pandemic was the best year for pet adoptions in the shelter’s history. People were staying home more and eager for companionship. But since then, the animal shelter hasn’t been able to keep up with the number of dogs without homes.

  • As the county’s population has increased, the animal population had followed the same trend.

“Charlotte has really changed over the years,” Knicely says. “We never had a problem of being full with dogs. We had a problem of being full of cats. But the popularity of cat owning has changed.”

  • Residents are also more commonly living in rental properties with restrictions on dog breeds.

The bottom line: If you’ve considered fostering, now could be the time to pursue it.

petey CMPD Animal Care & Control
Petey is a snuggler who loves to retrieve balls. He has spent one of his three years of life with the shelter. Photo courtesy of AC&C

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