Orange County shelter overcrowded with pets as rent rises

Almost 100 cats and dogs are being dropped off at Orange County Animal Services each day, and fewer than half of them are being adopted. Rising rent prices are adding to the problem because many people are giving up their pets. “We’re scared. We’re worried. We need our community’s help,” Bryant Almeida, public information officer for Orange County Animal Services, said. Almeida said the staff is currently caring for 170 dogs and more than 150 cats. Up to 100 animals are being dropped off each day and only about 20 of them are being adopted. The overcrowding is forcing three dogs into one kennel. “Ideally, we’d like to have just one dog per kennel. Three is way too much. I mean a lot of these dogs don’t know each other, some of them don’t get along with other dogs so it becomes a safety issue too,” Almeida said. But the biggest thing the staff is noticing is a spike in the number of people surrendering their pets.”Veterinary costs are getting expensive. Dog food is getting expensive, cat food, cat litter – these things add up,” Almeida said. On top of inflation, Almeida says soaring rent prices are most likely adding to the problem because the biggest reason why people are giving up their pets is that people are moving. “They’re forced to make that choice, you know, move to a place they can afford or keep their pet. And a lot of people they’ll decide my dog, my cat will be better off in another home,” Almeida said. “There’s plenty of rescues that would be willing to take animals. Maybe a friend or family could try to rehome them before they bring them here because we’re overwhelmed,” Almeida said. The team is pleading for people to consider adopting, fostering or even volunteering. Don’t shop, just adopt,” Almeida said. Orange County Animal Services offers low-income residents free spay and neuter for their pets. The staff also offers support for anyone who is struggling with veterinary care.

Almost 100 cats and dogs are being dropped off at Orange County Animal Services each day, and fewer than half of them are being adopted.

Rising rent prices are adding to the problem because many people are giving up their pets.

“We’re scared. We’re worried. We need our community’s help,” Bryant Almeida, public information officer for Orange County Animal Services, said.

Almeida said the staff is currently caring for 170 dogs and more than 150 cats. Up to 100 animals are being dropped off each day and only about 20 of them are being adopted.

The overcrowding is forcing three dogs into one kennel.

“Ideally, we’d like to have just one dog per kennel. Three is way too much. I mean a lot of these dogs don’t know each other, some of them don’t get along with other dogs so it becomes a safety issue too,” Almeida said.

The county is getting strays and animals from confiscations. But the biggest thing the staff is noticing is a spike in the number of people surrendering their pets.

“Veterinary costs are getting expensive. Dog food is getting expensive, cat food, cat litter – these things add up,” Almeida said.

On top of inflation, Almeida says soaring rent prices are most likely adding to the problem because the biggest reason why people are giving up their pets is that people are moving.

“They’re forced to make that choice, you know, move to a place they can afford or keep their pet. And a lot of people they’ll decide my dog, my cat will be better off in another home,” Almeida said .

Before bringing in an animal, pet owners are advised to exhaust all options.

“There’s plenty of rescues that would be willing to take animals. Maybe a friend or family could try to rehome them before they bring them here because we’re overwhelmed,” Almeida said.

The team is pleading for people to consider adopting, fostering or even volunteering.

“Adopt. Don’t shop, just adopt,” Almeida said.

Orange County Animal Services offers low-income residents free spay and neuter for their pets.

The staff also offers support for anyone who is struggling with veterinary care.

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