ROANOKE, Va. – August is normally one of the busiest months for animal shelters across the region – in part because of kitten season – But this year, there are other factors at play, making it even busier than usual.
Shelters in the region are seeing an increase in the number of animal intakes, and to help, 10 News is participating in Clear The Shelters, an annual, nationwide pet adoption and shelter donation campaign that is spearheaded by NBCUniversal Local.
Through this campaign, you can help local shelters in the region by finding rescues a loving home.
Julie Rickmond with the Roanoke Valley SPCA said shelters across the region are experiencing a drastic uptick in the number of animals needing shelter.
“What we have seen this year is that owner relinquishments have really gone up,” Rickmond said.
Rickmond said the housing crisis has caused an influx of animals at shelters. In June, the Regional Center for Animal Care and Protection received quadruple the number of animals from other months. The RVSPCA gets about 60% of its animals from the RCACP.
“People being forced to leave their homes, getting evicted, having to find other homes for themselves and they may not be able to take their pets with them. So that is making all of our shelters in our region very, very full,” Rickmond said.
And on top of that, local shelters are helping with the thousands of beagles rescued from Envigo, a facility that breeds beagles for medical research. A federal judge issued an emergency order imposing a series of restrictions on the Virginia dog-breeding facility after regulators said the site was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of beagle puppies.
“We have had over four thousand dogs that are going to be entering the population. We have a dog in our care right now that came from a hoarding situation of over 500 puppy mill dogs,” Rickmond said.
And there are those pets, mostly large dogs, that have already been waiting at shelters for far too long.
While the numbers keep growing higher, staff like Rickmond know each pet has its own unique story.
Now they need their perfect match.
“The more that people share the word about these shelter pets that are available and how special they are and how great they are, the more that we can get adopted and find those loving homes for,” Rickmond said.
10 News will post a new animal each weekday for the Clear The Shelters campaign. Each post will feature a new animal, more information about the animal, and adoption information.
You can find 10 News’ first 2022 Clear The Shelters story here.