Local shelters and rescue groups say they are overcrowded with dogs and cats

HOUSTON – An increase in the number of stray dogs and cats being brought to animal shelters and rescue groups in the area has led to overcrowding and concerns about a lack of space to house a growing problem.

“Here, for the last maybe a month, a month and a half, we have just been overwhelmed (and) overwhelmed. I don’t even know how to put it any other way, with just an insane amount of animals entering the shelter,” said René Vasquez, director of Fort Bend County Animal Services.

Vasquez said the county facility had 179 dogs in its care Monday. The facility is built to house between 135 and 140 dogs, according to Vasquez.

“Adoptions and foster homes are down,” he said, adding that the facility had waived fees in hopes of freeing up space. “We have to get them out because we know there are more coming.”

Kali Cabrera, the founder of Spring branch rescuesaid calls to his organization to house stray dogs and cats come in by the dozens every day.

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“We are hoping for a miracle because we are sinking,” Cabrera said.

Cabrera has turned his garage into a mini rescue site. She said other members of her organization also tried to take in additional animals.

“We are overwhelmed. Shelters, at least, have some kind of funding. We do not receive any funding from anyone other than our donors or our adoptions,” Cabrera said.

She said that means her members are often coming out of pocket and overwhelmed by an errant issue that got worse late in the pandemic after people came out and adopted while working from home.

“And now all that time you had for these animals during COVID is gone. And so, now you want to give them up. You call for help, you call shelters because you don’t know what to do,” Cabrera said.

Cabrera said more people were needed to accommodate the animals. She also urged pet owners to ensure their pets are spayed and neutered.

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