The shelter was built to house 40 dogs, but they have recently been averaging 80 dogs a day.
HORN LAKE, Miss — The burden of the pandemic economy is now falling on pets. Pet adoptions were popular early in the pandemic. In fact, animal shelters emptied out as more stay-at-home people wanted a new companion.
But now that people are getting back to normal life, there is an influx of evictions after the moratorium on evictions was lifted and pet owners are dying of COVID-19. The Horn Lake Animal Shelter sees many of these animals being returned or dumped in the town, with large dogs being the main concern.
Julia Sparacello, animal control officer at the Horn Lake Animal Sanctuary, has worked there for two years and said it was the worst she had ever seen. She said the shelter is currently facing some tough decisions.
Horn Lake Animal Shelter has a reputation for not killing because it hasn’t slaughtered an animal for capacity issues in nearly three years, but that streak may soon be broken because it simply hasn’t killed. not enough space. Julia said the shelter was built to house 40 dogs, but recently they have been taking in an average of 80 dogs a day.
Sparcello said the dogs are crammed into kennels, housed in the office, restrooms and 26 dogs have to sleep outside. It’s a full 180 of what the shelter experienced at the start of the pandemic.
“We’re seeing one come out and literally three come back,” she said. “We have dogs in the playgrounds, we have dogs across the street, we have dogs in the office, we have a dog in the bathroom right now,”
Sparcello said the shelter was completely full, so now they have to refuse landlord surrenders. Because of the decision, Sparcello said people are dropping their dogs off at the after-hours shelter once or twice a week. Now the shelter will have to make a list to see which dogs they will put down to make more room.
“We’re going to have to start making decisions about, you know, this dog takes too long to get to know new people, or this dog is more selective about animals or doesn’t get along with certain animals,” said Sparcello. “I mean, we think they all have a home there, it’s just a matter of finding the right place, but with the number we have, we don’t have time to wait.”
There are about 90 other dog rescue centers in the south-central area, but Sparcello said they all face the same issues. If you would like to help prevent these animals from being euthanized so they can find their forever homes, you can request to foster a dog. Click here to find out more.