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Lethbridge Animal Shelter stops accepting surrenders due to overcrowding

Lethbridge Animal Shelter. (courtesy: Lethbridge Animal Shelter) Lethbridge Animal Shelter. (courtesy: Lethbridge Animal Shelter)

An abundance of unclaimed stray cats and dogs has prompted the Lethbridge Animal Shelter to turn away people looking to surrender their pets.

As of Tuesday, shelter officials say the facility is operating above its capacity and there are concerns overcrowding could increase the risk of illness and stress amongst the animals.

“Ultimately, the best way to provide the best care for animals in facilities like this is to manage the intake rather than indiscriminately taking everything you possibly can. Overcrowding in the shelter obviously has a lot of negative effects,” said Skylar Plourde, community animal services director.

“Looking for an owner in the community before the animal reaches the shelter significantly increases the chance of that pet being reunited with their owners. Cats for example are 10 times more likely to be reunited with their families.”

Plourde also says the shelter was at 98 per cent capacity as of Tuesday afternoon, 80 per cent capacity for cats and 140 per cent capacity for dogs.

If you are currently missing a pet in the Lethbridge area, you are asked to contact Community Animal Services to determine if the animal is at the shelter.

Anyone who finds a stray pet in their neighbourhood is encouraged to seek out the owner before bringing it to animal care services.

Lethbridge Animal Shelter officials and others say the overcrowding issue is being experienced at shelters across the province.

“We work with a lot of rescues throughout Alberta where we either try to help them when they're over capacity or they try to help us when we have dogs we just can't fit but need the help. And everybody is over capacity right now,” said Whitney Slomp, Prairie Pets Rescue adoption co-ordinator.

“We're getting a huge amount of moms and pups coming in, especially this year. We always have, but this year we've seen even more. So spaying and neutering is very important.”

To see a list of animals that are currently available for adoption, visit Community Animal Services. Top Stories

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