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  • Pima Animal Care Center exceeds emergency occupancy limits

    Jul 06, 2022 | Read More News
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    Pima Animal Care Center is critically full with lost and surrendered animals, mostly dogs, creating stressful conditions for the shelter and the animals it cares for. 
    The crowded conditions increase the likelihood of disease spread, injuries due to fighting, and causes extreme stress on the animals. It’s also extremely difficult for shelter volunteers and staff. Currently, PACC is co-housing three to four times more dogs than is typical this time of year.
    PACC Director Monica Dangler, in consultation with County administration, said Tuesday she may have to start euthanizing dogs this week due to the critical overcrowding. It would be the first time since the new shelter opened in 2017 that the Care Center would have to take such a heartbreaking action. 
    Dogs in kennels 
    “The decision to euthanize is gut-wrenching,” Dangler said. “The last thing PACC wants to do is take this step. Ultimately, we have to make the decision that benefits the largest number of animals possible, keeping as many animals safe and healthy as possible in hopes that they can be reunited with their families. We’re begging Pima County residents to stop by the shelter to claim their lost pets or adopt or foster. You will, quite literally, be saving a life.”
    People can help several ways:
    The overcrowding situation is fluid as staff continues evaluating space and making room for animals. In past years, PACC has taken in upwards of 75 pets a day following the July 4 holiday. The next two to three days will be critical in determining a path forward.
    For specific questions about pets at PACC, adoptions or fostering, people should stop by the shelter in person. Pima Animal Care Center is open Monday to Friday, noon to 7 p.m., and 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. To see a list of available pets and services, head to pima.gov/animalcare.

    Animals Heading into the July 4 holiday weekend, PACC was extremely full with 490 dogs at the shelter on July 1. The week after July 4 is historically the busiest week of the year for the shelter; PACC is expecting to see an additional 400 dogs brought in this week, most likely dogs startled by fireworks.
    “We’ve done our absolute best to avoid this situation,” Dangler said. “But we’re the only open-admissions shelter in the County and for weeks we have had far more animals coming in than going out. The monsoon and July 4th only made it worse.”
    Overcrowding to this degree at an animal shelter can lead to a number of stressful scenarios for both the animals and the staff looking after them. When animals come into PACC they are already at a heightened stress level and overcrowding only makes that worse. In addition to elevated stress levels, diseases can spread more efficiently in a crowded space and animals are more likely to experience behavior issues resulting in aggressive behavior.
    Other ways to help:
    • Stray pets probably belong to one of your neighbors. Knock on doors in the area and you will likely find the owner within a matter of hours. 
    • If the finder needs supplies in order to hang onto the pet, PACC will provide those supplies free of charge. 
    • File a lost report immediately and upload a photo to http://www.lost.petcolove.org. Owners will be alerted when a dog matching theirs comes into PACC or HSSA.
    • Donate to Friends of Pima Animal Care Center at friendsofpacc.org.
    PACC is also offering Reclaim Forgiveness for stray pets. However, each case will be treated on an individual basis. To see if your pet is at the shelter, check the intake hourly, as it changes throughout the day.