Overcrowding at Houston-area shelters has officials issuing an urgent plea for people adopt pets

Overcrowded animal shelters need help

FORT BEND COUNTY – Overcrowding at Houston-area shelters has officials issuing an urgent plea for people to come out and adopt a pet.

“We’re at full capacity,” said Rene Vasquez, director of Fort Bend County Animal Services.

Vasquez said they’ve passed full capacity, with over 200 dogs and 33 cats currently being housed at the county’s facility in Rosenberg. The shelter normally houses between 130 to 140 dogs, according to Vasquez, who said there are several reasons behind the increase.

“We used to adopt over 100 animals a month. And here lately, that hasn’t been the case. Our adoption numbers are so down, but we can’t keep up because the animals don’t stop coming in,” he said.

Area shelters saw an increase in adoptions during the start of the pandemic, with so many people working from home. The tide changed in the spring of this year with area shelters reporting an increase in strays and surrenders – both attributed, in part, to people having a change of heart about their adoption.

Still, Vasquez said the full answer behind the increase isn’t clear.

“I don’t know if it was because this summer is so hot that people maybe saw the dogs out in the heat, maybe they called more. It’s hard to pinpoint,” he said.

It’s a problem shelters throughout the area are working to resolve.

Julie Kuenstle of the Houston SPCA said the agency is actively looking for people to adopt, foster, and volunteer.

“We all have something to give. Maybe it’s a monthly donation. Maybe it’s your time. You come to join a volunteer program. You can foster an animal,” Kuenstle said.

The agency is participating in Clear the Shelters, an annual adoption event with special discounts on adoption fees and other activities. Clear the Shelter will take place on Aug. 27.

“They deserve a second chance. A lot of these animals have been through a lot and all they want to do, animals, for the most part, is they just want to love you,” Kuenstle said.

Officials in Fort Bend are participating in a Mega Adoption Event on Sept. 3 and 4 at George R. Brown Convention Center, with over 1000 animals expected to be available for adoption.


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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.