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Phoenix-area animal shelters gear up for influx of strays in summer months

(Cynthia Malvin/County of San Bernardino Human Services via AP)

PHOENIX — With the summer months around the corner, many people across Arizona are gearing up for the triple-digit temperatures.

But two animal shelters in Maricopa County are preparing for an influx in stray animals that they typically see as the mercury rises.

“We see overpopulation in general all year long,” Jose Santiago with Maricopa County Animal Care and Control Services told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“In the summer, we see an even greater influx of animals, especially dogs.”

Santiago said the summer increase is attributed to more puppies being born and more animals found on the street.

“There are a limited number of owner surrenders, but we are required by law to pick up any lost and stray dogs,” he said.

The county has two animal shelters: One in Phoenix near 27th Avenue and Buckeye Road and another in Mesa near Rio Salado Parkway and Price Road.

The East Valley shelter can house up to 250 animals, but the demand is up to 350. The West Valley shelter’s capacity is 350 and the demand is up to 600, according to the county.

Santiago said there are currently 40 open kennel spaces between the two facilities, but those spaces aren’t expected to stay empty for long.

Sixty-five animals were taken into the shelters last Thursday alone, he added.

“We’re scrambling, trying to figure out whether to double up animals, how to house other animals we see coming into the shelter,” Santiago said.

“The last thing we want to do is put them in more stress by pairing them up with an unfamiliar dog,” he added.

“During the summer months we have to pair up dogs in the kennels, but that’s usually a last resort.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ashley Flood contributed to this report. 

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