‘Adoptions and fostering are down’: Shelters, local rescue groups say they’re overcrowded with dogs and cats

Here's what we know

HOUSTON – An increase in stray dogs and cats being brought to area animal shelters and rescue groups has led to overpopulation and concern there isn’t enough space to house a growing problem.

“Here in the last maybe month, month and a half, we have just been overwhelmed (and) swamped. I don’t even know how else to put it, with just a crazy amount of animals coming into the shelter,” said Rene Vasquez, director of Fort Bend County Animal Services.

Vasquez said the county’s facility had 179 dogs in its care as of Monday. The facility is built to house between 135 to 140 dogs, according to Vasquez.

“Adoptions and fostering are down,” he said, adding that the facility has waived fees in hopes of clearing space. “We need to get them out because we know there’s more coming in.”

Kali Cabrera, the founder of Spring Branch Rescue, said calls for her organization to house stray dogs and cats come daily by the dozen.

“We’re hoping for a miracle because we’re sinking,” Cabrera said.

Cabrera has transformed her garage into a mini rescue site. She said other members of her organization have tried to take in additional animals as well.

“We are overwhelmed. The shelters, at least, have some kind of funding. We are not getting any funding from anyone besides our donors or adoptions,” Cabrera said.

She said that means her members often come out of pocket and have become overwhelmed with a stray problem that has gotten worse on the back end of the pandemic after people went out and adopted when they were working from home.

“And now, all that time that you had for those animals during COVID is gone. And so, now you wanna surrender them. You’re calling the rescues, you’re calling the shelters because you don’t know what to do,” Cabrera said.

Cabrera said more people to foster animals are needed. She also urged pet owners to make sure their animals are spayed and neutered.


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Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. NOLA born and bred, though #HoustonStrong, with stops in Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in along the way.