Homeless pet boom

Drew Butler
These three siblings are some of the more than 180 animals currently available at the Ardmore Animal Shelter. This number includes approximately 30 cats and over 150 dogs.

The Ardmore Animal Shelter took in the third highest number of animals in the state in 2019. Oklahoma City came in first with approximately 19,000. Tulsa came in second with almost 10,000, and Ardmore ended up taking in 6,471.

Executive Director Kasey Renteria said this is the largest number of animals the shelter has seen in almost a decade.

“We haven’t received that many since 2011,” Renteria said. “Our spay and neuter clinic was really bringing those totals down for several years, but then this last year our numbers just exploded.”

Renteria said many factors contribute to Ardmore having such a high total, but she thinks the primary factor is location.

“We’re really the only animal shelter in this area,” Renteria said. “You have to travel quite a ways north or south to get to another shelter. There are a lot of little city pounds, but we’re the only large animal shelter in the area so we receive from all over — not just Carter County but the surrounding counties as well.”

Renteria said the shelter is hoping to see this number drop in the coming years because of the increasingly busy spay and neuter clinic they offer. The clinic is now open four days a week and offers the service for dogs for $55 and cats for $45. She also brought up the shelter’s program that gives pet owners a voucher to spay the mother dog or cat when they bring in litters to the shelter.

While those programs will hopefully reduce the number of unwanted animals in the future, in the meantime the totals remain high.

“Right now we’re at about 30 cats and 150 dogs,” Renteria said. “So we are full and there are no open pens again, unfortunately.”

Renteria said the shelter is working with groups from out of town to help get some of these animals to other areas that have less animals available for adoption. They are also looking for more volunteers to help foster puppies and kittens until they are old enough to adopt.

“With spring and summer coming up our big focus right now is trying to find foster parents for all the litters that we’re sure to start seeing soon,” Renteria said. “That can last for a few days or a few weeks.”

The shelter is also currently working on an Easter fundraiser to help raise money to support all the animals they receive. The shelter will be stuffing and delivering Easter eggs within Ardmore City Limits on Saturday April 11. Three different price points are available and people can pick up their order for a $5 discount. For more information about the Egg My Yard fundraiser visit Facebook.com/ardmoreanimalcare.