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Beaufort County animal shelter overwhelmed by influx of animals

Beaufort County Animal Services, Washington NC Facebook Page

The Beaufort County Animal Shelter in Washington has seen more animals coming in than usual for more than a year, according to animal control officer Melanie Sawyer. The shelter cannot accept animals on most days due to concerns about overcrowding and the spread of disease.

Sawyer says many local shelters are also at capacity. Shelters tend to see an increase in the number of animals surrendered around this time of year, which coincides with kitten season. However, she’s not sure why the problem persists throughout the year.

“I don't know why we're seeing so many right now,” Sawyer said. “It is cat and kitten season. We're seeing more puppies right now. If we're lucky, we can go three days and then we have more space after that.”

People surrender animals for many reasons: they have a child, they're moving or being evicted, or they can no longer financially support an animal. Sawyer has seen people part ways with their pets for each of these reasons over the last year.

One way that people can help alleviate the overcrowding problem is to spay and neuter their pets. Sawyer says that she sees people coming into the shelter repeatedly with litters of puppies or kittens. Spaying and neutering pets can help to reduce the number of unwanted animals that end up in shelters.

“What I try to preach and I tell everybody is to just spay and neuter,” Sawyer says. “Be responsible. That's the issue. We see recurring people bringing 6-7 puppies or kittens. Let us help you get the animal fixed."

The county is also waiving adoption fees to incentivize adoption.

Ryan is an Arkansas native and podcast junkie. He was first introduced to public radio during an internship with his hometown NPR station, KUAF. Ryan is a graduate of Tufts University in Somerville, Mass., where he studied political science and led the Tufts Daily, the nation’s smallest independent daily college newspaper. In his spare time, Ryan likes to embroider, attend musicals, and spend time with his fiancée.