Last month, 445 animals were brought to county animal shelters, compared to 182 in January, 217 in February, 325 in March and 292 in April, MCAS Outreach and Events Specialist Hans Wohlgefahrt told Patch. .
“It’s really worrying, that’s my honest answer, to see our numbers,” he said. “We always see an increase in consumption during our summer months, but it’s really early summer, and we have a long way to go to get through kitten season.”
Those numbers show no signs of slowing down, with more than 20 animals cared for each of the first two days of June, he added.
And Manatee County Animal Services is one of the county’s only open-admission shelters, meaning that under the county’s charter, the agency is mandated to take in stray animals of all abilities.
“Even if we don’t have the space, that means we have to figure it out,” Wohlgefahrt said.
As shelters reach capacity, it’s a different story for residents in positions where they have to abandon their pets, he warned. “We just don’t have the room for owner buyouts.”
Animal Services operates three facilities: the Bishop Animal Shelter at 5718 21st Ave. W. in Bradenton, Cat Town at 216 6th Ave. E. in Bradenton and Palmetto Animal Services at 305 25th Street W. in Palmetto.
As of Thursday, there were 272 animals in county custody at those locations.
The Palmetto facility serves as the main dog adoption center. With 80 kennels, 78 were full on Thursday. Meanwhile, Cat Town currently has 27 cats.
The Bishop facility, which was donated to the county in March, serves as a medical and hospitality center. Thursday there were 52 dogs, 114 cats and a rabbit.
Shelters continue to see an increase in admissions each summer with an increase in the number of mother cats and kittens. This year, other factors are implicated “in economic hardship, like people having housing difficulties, that sort of thing,” Wohlgefahrt said. “I think financial and housing issues are really a problem for people. Some of the situations we’ve seen have been really heartbreaking, people are showing up at the shelter and they don’t have a place to sleep at night.”
Animal Services is doing what it can to work with pet owners facing financial hardship, offering a year-round pet food program to provide the supplies they need to keep their furry friends in their home, he said. The agency also has a network of nonprofit animal organizations they can refer people to for help.
“They are intervening to find a solution, one way or another,” Wohlgefahrt said. “Sometimes it’s a patchwork solution for people who need to house their dog for maybe a little bit. We want to keep animals out of shelters. Right now, as we hit these very high numbers, what we’re trying to do is give people resources – other rescues, ways to rehome their pet son, even the obvious things, like reaching out to family and friends to see if they can take a pet company for a while.”
He also encourages anyone looking to bring back a pet to adopt one from shelters around the county. To make adoption more accessible, the county reduced adoption fees to just $15 for all animals starting Friday through the end of June.
There are also other special adoption fees, including reduced fees for pets that have been at the shelter for more than 60 days or are over 7 years old and no fee for military, veterans and first timers. speakers with ID.
Animal services are also looking for foster families, especially during kitten season. While some kittens arrive with their mothers, who largely care for the babies, some have been separated from their families or are abandoned and need to be bottle-fed every hour, Wohlgefahrt said.
“Foster families are important. (These kittens) need a lot of attention and that socializes them so they’re ready for adoption,” he said. “To encourage foster care, we provide all the supplies a person needs. We don’t want them digging into their wallet.”
For those fostering a full litter, MCAS provides a cat condo—two-level roller cages for the mother and her kittens—making foster care easy.
Volunteers are also always needed at county facilities. Animal Services recently launched two new volunteer programs – a nursery care team that focuses solely on kittens and a medical unit
“There are so many kittens out there right now and on a daily basis, we’re dealing with pets that get hit by cars, that have some sort of trauma, and we get into the summer heat exposure and that kind of things,” Wohlgefahrt said. “We hope these two programs will help us through these difficult months ahead.”
Those interested in supporting the department can also purchase needed items from the Amazon Wish List compiled by Friends of Manatee County Animal Services.