A quick walk through the kennels of the Ardmore Animal Shelter quickly reveals that the shelter is well above capacity with every cage full, some cages housing 2 to 3 animals.
On Friday, the shelter reported that no runaway animals from the Fourth of July holiday had been admitted to the facility.
While not unexpected, the trend is not expected to last.
“Usually if someone finds a pet, they won’t bring it to us immediately,” Executive Director Kasey Renteria said. “Usually they will check with their neighbors first or post on social media trying to find the owner before they bring it to us.”
Renteria said most will wait 2-3 days before resorting to the animal shelter.
“Once they do come in, we will hold it for five days to give the owner time to claim it,” Renteria said.
Animals not reclaimed by their owners are then put up for adoption.
While the fireworks have yet to increase the numbers at the shelter, a steady influx of animals already has the shelter well above capacity.
The shelter took in 668 animals during June, adopting out 251. For the first four days of July, the shelter had accepted 114 animals, 77 of which were strays.
Renteria said the number of strays left at the shelter has not yet been impacted by the absence of the city’s animal control officers.
“There isn’t much change, individuals are just having to bring them themselves instead of relying on animal control,” Renteria said.
Renteria said the shelter offers a discounted program to implant micro chips, but only once a year. Anyone not wanting to wait can get the implant through their personal veterinarian.
“The best thing, you always want to make sure you have an up-to-date picture of your pet to post on social media,” Renteria said. “You also want to contact us, a lot of stores let you put up flyers. But the best way to guarantee you get your pet back is, of course, the collar and ID tag as well as the micro chip. That way when they are taken to a vet, they can scan them and find out who the owner is.”
The shelter’s current pet population is dominated by kittens.
“This time of year, most of them are going to be litters that the owners brought in,” Renteria said. “It’s still kitten season, we are packed full of kittens, though we do have a few litters of puppies. The majority of the 688 from last month were kittens.”
The shelter housed a total of 150 animals, 51 of which were felines.
To combat the increase in unwanted pets, the shelter has begun offering its spay and neuter clinic throughout the week.
All animals adopted from the shelter are spayed or neutered prior to being released to their new owners, others can schedule an appointment at the shelter for the service.
“That’s included in the adoption. Anything adopted from any shelter in the state has to be spayed or neutered,” Renteria said. “If you find a stray on the street, it’s going to cost you more to spay than it would to adopt. We charge $60 for the dogs and $40 for the cat, which includes a vet examination. You also get your vaccines, so you end up saving money in the long-run by adopting.”
For those unsure about adopting, or currently unable to take on the long-term commitment, the shelter is also in need of foster homes.
“If you can’t adopt, you can always come in and foster,” Renteria said. “We have tons of mommas with babies, and we have some without mommas that need to be bottle-fed.”
The shelter provides the foster parent everything needed to care for the animals, including food and cat litter.
“Depending on the age of the animal you are fostering, it’s not going to be over 8 weeks,” Renteria said. “Most of them are just a few weeks long.”
Anyone wanting to keep the animals they foster will still have to go through the adoption process and pay the adoption fee.
The shelter also accepts specific, targeted donations to help lower the cost or provide free spay and neutering services or other emergency services for low-income residents though the shelter’s benevolent fund.