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'We may be losing them in the process, somebody finds them, they bring them in' | More pets appearing at animal shelter

It's a big problem for already crowded shelters.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Local animal shelters saw a huge increase in pet adoptions and fostering during the pandemic, but now they're filling up once again.

CMPD Animal Care and Control is close to being at full capacity. The surge in dogs and cats arriving at the shelter has officials pushing to find homes for these pets. 

"It's not a problem that is just here in Charlotte," CMPD Animal Care and Control spokesperson Melissa Knicely said.

Knicely says it's normal for them to see an increase during the summer months, but owners aren't bringing their pets in or returning them at an alarming rate, there are just more opportunities for pets to get lost.

"I think we're seeing the numbers increase because people are getting back out again," Knicely said. "We're taking our dogs to the park and the White Water Center and to the greenways, we may be losing them in the process, somebody finds them, they bring them in... so that's going to pop your stray numbers."

One reason for the rise is its breeding season. Also, the Summer is often a time for moving and vacations, it also brings fireworks and thunderstorms, all opportunities for pets to run away or get lost. 

It's a big problem for already crowded shelters.

"You can hear it now, what a stressful environment for a new dog coming into the shelter," Knicely said. "What we would like to see the future of sheltering become-- is this becomes an emergency situation place only."

With July 4 around the corner, Animal Care & Control recommends microchipping your pet. It’s permanent identification for your pet. All of our AC&C Officers are equipped with microchip scanners and every animal that is picked up is immediately scanned for a microchip. If a chip is located the animal can be returned home immediately, without having to come to the shelter. Animal Care & Control also strongly recommends everyone who has a pet that’s microchipped register your pet in their local database for FREE. If you don’t have a microchip, you can come to the CMPD AC&C community outreach clinic which takes place on the second Saturday of each month. The shelter will implant microchips and register them nationally for you for a $10 donation.

For animals that are afraid of fireworks or thunderstorms, Animal Care & Control advises that you secure your pet in an area of your home where it feels safe and secure. This will help avoid unnecessary stress on your pet or possible injury and accidental escape.

  • If your pet is upset by a door slamming or other loud noises consider consulting with your vet for a type of sedative.
  • Some animals become destructive when frightened, so be sure that you’ve removed any items that your pet could destroy or that would be harmful to your pet if chewed or consumed.
  • Leave a radio or television on at normal volume to provide your pet companionship.
  • Make sure your pets are wearing identification and microchipped so they can be returned if they do get lost. Animals found running at large should be taken to the Animal Care & Control at 8315 Byrum Drive in Charlotte, where they will have the best chance of being reunited with their owners.

CMPD Animal Care and Control currently have 160 dogs being cared for in the shelter and 20 dogs being cared for in foster homes.

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Contact Lexi Wilson at lwilson@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.