Unwanted animals causing overcrowding at Harris County Animal Shelter

Shelter says it has more than 300 animals rejected by residents

Photo courtesy of the Harris County Animal Shelter.
Photo courtesy of the Harris County Animal Shelter. (Harris County Animal Shelter)

HOUSTON – The Harris County Animal Shelter said it has more than 300 animals rejected by residents and that future pet owners are needed to adopt or foster homeless animals.

Many of the puppies and kittens being born this spring are homeless or unwanted, the shelter said. Many of them are brought in daily to the Harris County Animal Shelter at Veterinary Public Health, which pushes the shelter past its capacity.

"The Harris County Animal Shelter takes in an average of 60 to 80 unwanted animals every day," officials said. "Out of these, up to 40 percent are surrendered by their owners."

Although not all animals may be adoptable for various reasons, such as being elderly, feral, sick, aggressive or injured animals, officials said many of the shelter animals would make ideal pets for anyone willing to open their hearts and homes.

"As a public shelter, we accept all unwanted pets, even if our shelter is overcapacity," said Dr. Umair A. Shah, executive director of Harris County Public Health. "We need people to adopt from our shelter and adoption partners to assist us in finding homes for our shelter animals. More importantly, we need the community to embrace responsible pet ownership and love their pets by getting them spayed and neutered."

Officials said all animals adopted from the shelter are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped.

Pet ownership requires an investment of time and money. Officials said when adopting a pet, consider:

-Selecting a pet that is suited to your home and lifestyle: Do you have time to walk your dog? Would an older pet be more suitable than an active kitten or puppy?
-Avoiding impulsive decisions when selecting a family pet
-Owning only the number of pets that you can provide for appropriately
-Ensuring that the pet is properly vaccinated, identified and that their license is up-to-date

Anyone who cannot adopt a pet may also consider volunteering at the shelter at 612 Canino Road in Houston, or fostering adoptable animals until they are awarded a permanent home.

Officials said volunteers are needed to help out with the adoption process, socialize with and foster animals. For more information, email vphvolunteer@hcphes.org or call 281-999-3191.