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COVID aftershocks could be contributing to overcrowded animal shelters

“We are truly in crisis right now”
Animal shelters overcrowded in Fulton County
Published: May. 18, 2022 at 5:40 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Animals shelter employees say rent increases could be contributing to overcrowding at their shelters. Right now, in Fulton County the shelter is packed, up to five dogs can be in one run at a time. Employees say they are in crisis mode and need the community to step in.

”Our building was built in 1978...it was actually built for the capacity for 80 dogs and we currently have 330,” said Audrey Shoemaker with LifeLine Animal Project/Fulton County Animal Services.

Our country is slowly, crawling out of the pandemic but some of those aftershocks, have ended up at local animal shelters.

”We are truly in crisis right now,” said Shoemaker.

The Fulton County Animal shelter is packed to the brim with dogs. DeKalb County is not much different.

”We know that where animals are supposed to be are in homes- so the solution to this problem, lies in the community,” said Shoemaker.

The shelter has been forced to line the hallways with crates to house dogs, some of the runs have 4-5 animals each. There is enough love from volunteers to go around but they do not have any more space for new animals.

Adoptions are down by which means animals are staying longer in the shelter.

Most of animals are lost pets that were dropped off here but employees say, some animals have been surrendered by owners because of evictions.

”People are really struggling right now. They have been struggling financially...we are seeing a lot of animals that are being displaced because of housing issues- that could be that people aren’t able to afford rent, evictions have obviously gone up and people are having a hard time finding places they can afford to live with their pets,” said Shoemaker.

Audrey says community members can register online to volunteer:

they can adopt themselves:

they can foster:

She also asks people to use social media to find owners of lost animals before dropping them off at local shelters. LifeLine Animal Project says 63% of lost dogs in Atlanta were found less than a mile away from home.

You can learn what to do if you find a lost animal, here:

Employees at the shelter say the community came together in some unbelievable ways to temporarily end this crisis at the beginning of the pandemic, and they believe people will do it again.

”I think it is going to take all of our innovation, all of our creativity, our entire community to make this happen,” said Shoemaker.