Cincinnati Animal CARE’S Hamilton County Animal Shelter has enough kennels for about 100 dogs. On Friday night, 99 were full.
Shelter manager Kelsey Maccombs said she’s not sure what’s causing the late-year uptick in the number of strays — maybe financial challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic are prompting families to abandon their pets, or maybe animals are escaping their yards. Whatever the reason, she’s anxious to ensure they all find good homes.
And she needs Cincinnatians’ help to provide them.
“We are here to take in those strays, and we want to care for them, but we also then need our community to step up and come adopt, foster or donate,” Maccombs said.
To encourage adoptions, the Hamilton County Animal Shelter will lower its prices until Wednesday: $50 to adopt an adult dog and $10 to adopt an adult cat.
Check out a list of adoptable pets on Cincinnati Animal CARE's website.
“I would say right now, if you’re thinking about adopting, this weekend is 100% absolutely the time,” said Cincinnati Animal CARE spokesman Ray Anderson. “We need our city. We need our community.”
Legally, the Hamilton County Animal Shelter cannot turn away strays. It’s a policy that ensures many types of dogs and cats have a safe place to go, but it comes hand-in-paw with the danger of crowding.
The shelter is committed to keeping only one dog per kennel and relies on foster families to care for the dogs who can’t stay in the shelter’s physical location, Anderson said.
Maccombs and Anderson both said Cincinnatians can help by adopting or fostering an animal.
Would-be adoptees can come to the shelter any day between noon and 6 p.m. They should bring a form of photo ID, Maccombs said, plus any members of their household that would need to meet their future pet. The shelter can provide adoption counselors to match families with animals and ensure their home is right for the pet they’ve selected.
Families can also meet with an adoption counselor to discuss the possibility of safely and humanely surrendering a pet by bringing them straight to the shelter, rather than letting them go and trusting a good Samaritan will find them later.
“If you are struggling and if you do feel like you’re in a situation where you need to surrender your pet, you call us 513-541-PET,” Anderson said. “We’ll work with you to see what we can do to help keep that pet in your home. If it turns out there’s nothing that can be done, we would prefer that you bring the animal to us rather than seeing animals get abandoned on the street.”