The Martinsville-Henry County SPCA is full and “desperate for adoptions,” according to a post on the organization’s Facebook page posted on Tuesday. To that end, the shelter is lowering its adoption fees to help ease any financial barriers for potential adopters.
Currently, adoption fees are $25 for adult dogs 35 pounds and heavier, $50 for adult dogs under 35 pounds, and all cats and kittens are $5.
The fees include spay/neuter, microchip, age-appropriate vaccines, and de-worming.
“We haven’t had this many animals in several years,” said SPCA Executive Director Catherine Gupton, who said there are nearly 100 animals currently at the SPCA. She said the organization hasn’t seen such high numbers since it began reducing its puppy program due to capacity issues.
Having so many animals takes a toll on SPCA resources, Gupton said.
“We are spending more for food and vaccines and we are having to house animals in spaces that we would not normally house them in just to make space.”
The situation also is taking its toll on staff and volunteers, she added, saying it is difficult “knowing that more animals are pouring into the pounds daily that we’re not able to help because none of the animals in our building are getting adopted, so we don’t have space open to bring in more.”
While animals at the SPCA will stay indefinitely until they are adopted, the inability to take in more animals means that “if the pounds get full, then the pounds face having to euthanize the animals,” Gupton explained.
She said that, while the SPCA “always takes on a higher majority of the cost than we get from adoption fees,” lowering those fees to help ease the pathway for adoption means the organization is shouldering an even heavier financial burden.
Gupton noted that the local SPCA is not the only shelter facing capacity issues.
“This is a problem that is occurring nationwide,” she said. “There’s a critical overpopulation of animals coming into shelters, so even our rescue partners are not able to step forward and help the way they normally would because they themselves are overwhelmed with animals.”
She said that one theory among members of the animal welfare community is that the increase in animals filling shelters and pounds is related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As a country, we had to prioritize medical supplies getting to those who needed care, so spay and neuter surgeries were reduced or even stopped in some cases, so there have been more animals breeding. We’re also seeing an influx of people who adopted an animal because they were lonely during the shutdown who have now gone back to work and are not finding the time to invest in the animal.”
Gupton said that, when someone comes to adopt an animal, the SPCA is “looking for families who are truly looking for a member of their family. We’re not looking for adopters who are just going to stick an animal outside on a chain. We’re looking for loving homes that are interested in putting in their best effort to provide the correct care for the animals that they adopt.”
SPCA hours are Tuesday through Friday from 12-6 p.m. and Saturday from 12-4 p.m.
An adoption application as well as information on animals currently available for adoption are available at www.spcamhc.org.