WASHINGTON COUNTY, Okla. — The Washington County SPCA is encouraging pet owners to spay and neuter their animals after seeing an increase in the number of animals brought to the shelter.
Two recent hoarding cases added more than 70 cats to the shelter. Not only overwhelming them with cats, but becoming a financial burden too.
In both hoarding instances, a landlord went to clean out a vacated rental property and discovered it still had residents.
“By the time it was all said and done and several of the cats were pregnant and had kittens," said Tonya Pete, CEO of the Washington County SPCA. "So, it was over 70 cats.”
The WCSPCA has taken in more than 2,000 animals so far this year. More than half of those have been cats. In situations where multiple are brought in at once, it’s tough to find room.
“We have a limited number of cages," Pete said. "So, when we take on a case like this, it’s like where are we going to put them all?”
Pete said the shelter tries to foster as many animals as they can and takes some to pet stores.
Overall, they’ve seen a 13 percent increase in the number of animals they’ve taken in this year.
“Last year, our numbers were down due to COVID when people were home," Pete said.
"We had more fosters, we had more people adopting. And now that we saw people go back to work we’re seeing that increase come back of the animals that are out there. But mostly it’s because people are not being responsible owners and spaying and neutering.”
Taking in all of those cats isn’t cheap. It costs about $125 to get each one ready for adoption. The cats from the two houses cost the shelter more than $8,000, which is a steep price for the nonprofit.
“I think people don’t understand sometimes that we are a nonprofit," Pete said. "We run off of donations. And after a four-day stray hold, the animals legally become the shelter’s which is the nonprofit side. Which is 100 percent ran on donations.”
The WCSPCA is currently hosting an “Empty the Shelters” event through Dec. 20. You can adopt a cat for $10 or a dog for $25.
If you'd like to donate to the WCSPCA, you can learn more here.
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