More dogs than kennels as Maricopa County struggles to find space
PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Animal Care and Control Department is experiencing a shelter capacity crisis. The number of dogs currently outnumbers kennels with 770 dogs and only 755 kennels.
Kimberly Powell with the County Department told KTAR News 92.3 FM it has had to find creative ways to house the pups.
“Typically, dogs have an indoor portion and an outdoor portion,” Powell said. “They can go in and out as much as they want. Well right now, we’ve had to kind of close that off to double the amount of kennel space.”
She said, now, some dogs are indoors-only while others remain outside, albeit with evaporative coolers to keep them as cool as possible.
Powell said there’s been an influx of dogs due, in part, to the ongoing housing crisis, exacerbating another problem of people surrendering pets as they return to work post-COVID. In August alone, 401 pets were surrendered, compared to 172 during the same month last year. That equates to a 133% increase.
Powell said the county department is doing everything it can do get animals adopted.
“Everyday, we’re trying to find new ways to get these dogs into safe homes or rescues,” Powell said. “We do have a return to owner program that has been really successful …”
Powell said a big part of that is ensuring your dog is licensed and has a microchip.
Other county programs include waived adoption fees during certain events or for certain sized animals.
When asked why someone should consider adopting a shelter dog, Powell said, “Why shouldn’t you do this? Shelter dogs are great! They’re quirky, they have their own personalities, and by adopting them you’re saving other animals’ lives, because now we have space to put in other animals who may be in a tough situation themselves …”