Factors include the canine distemper virus outbreak, winter weather, and the abundance of stray dogs.
SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Humane Society is asking the community for help in what is said to be an unprecedented countywide intake of dogs.
This time of year is usually considered the off-season, but the shelter says it’s over capacity.
A San Diego charity needs vital space in a shelter.
“There are about 1,200 pets in the population, about 600 of which are dogs,” said Nina Thompson of the San Diego Humane Society.
The shelter has doubled the number of dogs it normally has at this time of year.
Thompson said the situation is particularly difficult because of the canine distemper virus outbreak.
“The virus presents a challenge at the San Diego Humane Society right now, as we need to quarantine dogs to protect them and keep them from getting infected,” Thompson added.
The surge in infections is mainly due to the ingestion of unvaccinated stray dogs.
Another challenge is winter weather in most parts of the country.
“Our tests are going to Wisconsin and the swabs are coming from Wisconsin, so there are delays in testing as well, so it’s a perfect storm,” Thompson said.
She added that the number of stray dogs they were picking up was unlike anything she had ever seen before, and said inflation could be forcing people to make desperate choices with pets. Suspension of sterilization and sterilization during the pandemic will only exacerbate the problem.
Shelters don’t put animals down because of time or space, but they do ask people to adopt or foster them to make room for more animals.
“Given the current distemper outbreak and the incredible number of dogs we have here, it’s a challenge,” she said.
Another way to reduce stress in shelters is to return your dead pets to your home instead of leaving them.
The San Diego Humane Society is asking communities to keep pets they want to adopt until at least January 15th so they can survive the quarantine period.
All adult dog fees are currently waived through December 31st.
The San Diego Humane Society is accepting walk-in adoptions Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 5pm at its Escondido, El Cajon, Oceanside, and San Diego campuses.
Click here for more information on how to adopt, foster or volunteer.
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