Heartland animal shelters reportedly overflowing with surrendered pets

Animal shelters are struggling to get dogs and cats out as fast as they're taking them in. It has many of them at capacity
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 4:55 PM CDT|Updated: May. 25, 2023 at 6:13 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Animal shelters are struggling to get dogs and cats out as fast as they’re taking them in. It has many of them at capacity.

That’s also causing another problem, animals being dumped on their property after hours so they’re forced to take them. No-kill shelters are overcrowded, which causes issues for the staff and the welfare of the animals.

“It’s gotten a lot worse this year than normal,” Montica Babers said. She is the director of Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary in Jackson. She said when she arrives to work each day, she never knows what she’ll find waiting for her.

”Totes of cats, dogs tied to trees, aggressive dogs put in pens that we didn’t even know had bitten somebody,” Babers said. “With no note, no information, cats are left in carriers out on the front steps, it’s a little bit of everything.”

The shelter is at capacity. They have a waiting list for people to surrender their animals, but some aren’t willing to wait.

”They have nowhere else to turn,” Babers said. “They usually threaten to shoot them or throw them in the woods.”

”We’re coming across that problem across the county,” Jenn Farmer said. She is seeing it at Southeast Missouri Pets too. Just a few days ago, she said she showed up to work and found two dogs illegally left in their play yard overnight.

Dumping animals like that is against the law.

”Adds a whole lot of stress to our staff,” Farmer said. ”We have to double up our dogs, we have to do a lot of assessments behaviorally to make sure dogs can be kenneled together.”

Farmer said in April, they took in 206 animals and adopted out 115. Both Farmer and Babers could only speculate why so many animals are being surrendered.

”That’s the million dollar question,” Babers said. ”Assuming the economy, things are getting kind of ugly out there.”

”It’s post COVID, so we’re seeing a lot of the post-COVID dogs that weren’t spayed and neutered having puppies,” Farmer said.

If you need to surrender your pet, they both say please respect the waiting list.

With more animals at the shelters, they say food for dogs and cats, cleaning supplies and volunteers are always appreciated.