Maricopa County Animal Care and Control (MCACC) is facing a shelter capacity crisis. As of this week, MCACC shelters are housing 855 animals in 755 kennels, which means some dogs have to share a space in one kennel, and in other cases we’re having to split the kennels in two. While we do everything we can to keep our animals comfortable, this is not ideal.
While all shelter staff--including the administrative members and the leadership team--are helping with the morning and afternoon rounds of feeding and kennel cleaning, MCACC is also coming up with innovative solutions to combat this crisis. However, ultimately animal homelessness is a community issue that requires community support.
Per MCACC Director, Michael Mendel, “we cannot address this from within the shelter system alone, we need support directly from the community where animal homelessness begins, which is why we do everything we can to partner with the community.”
Here is what MCACC is doing right now:
· We’ve waived adoption fees on most animals and free adoption events are planned through 2022
· We are doing our best to reunite owners with their lost pets. Now in its third month, our Return to Owner Assistance Program helps reunite pets with owners facing financial difficulties. The Program subsidizes shelter fees such as boarding, spay/neuter surgery, licensing, and Rabies vaccinations.
Since July 1, the program has assisted:
· Animals Returned to Owner: 149 animals (July: 83 animals, August: 66 animals)
· Animals Sterilized through RTO subsidy: 102 animals (July: 56 surgeries, August: 46 surgeries)
· We’ve added 50 temporary kennel spaces outside at MCACC's West shelter facility with evaporative coolers to make dogs as comfortable as possible
How Maricopa County residents can help:
We ask that you exhaust every option prior to making an appointment to bring stray animals to shelters. It has been proven that the quickest owned pet reunions begin with in-neighborhood methods such as posted paper flyers and local social media pages.
· Take found stray animal to a local veterinarian for microchip scanning. If the pet is chipped this will begin the reunion process.
· Add the pet to MCACC's Lost & Found interactive pet map
· If the pet is not chipped, call 602-506-PETS to make a stray surrender appointment.
· If you'd like to help in person, please consider volunteering to work directly within the shelter with our dedicated shelter teams.
· If you have capacity in your own home to foster shelter animals, please start here or reach out to another reputable animal welfare organization to provide foster network support
· Donate to any local animal welfare organization who provides free or low cost spay/neuter, microchipping, and licensing activities to stop this issue where it starts
As always, we want to remind the community that spay/neuter remains the most effective method to reduce animal intake and euthanasia and help decrease the number of dogs and cats entering local shelters.
We invite members of the press to tour the MCACC West location at 2500 S. 27th Avenue this week. Interviews will be provided. Please contact me at my cell phone or via email if you would like to set something up.