Bay Area shelters appeal to pet owners as facilities overflow with animals abandoned since pandemic

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — From cats to dogs, birds to rabbits, there’s an overflow of strays at San Francisco Animal Care and Control.

“Across the country, rescue groups are full. Other shelters are full, so we’re all playing Tetris right now,” said Ariana Luchsinger, operations manager for San Francisco Care and Control.

The pandemic has prevented millions of pets from being neutered and neutered. A recent study from the University of Floridia found that more than 2.5 million fewer surgeries were performed in 2021 and 2022.

“It was very difficult to get spayed and spayed during the pandemic. Many veterinary hospitals didn’t have capacity,” said Virginia Donohue, executive director of San Francisco Animal Care and Control.

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And now the capacity is running out in their facility. The number of small animals, such as guinea pigs and rabbits, is exploding. The facility is equipped to accommodate 24, but is forced to find ways to accommodate 80.

“Instead of people coming in with a guinea pig, a rabbit, we see them coming in with eights, 10s, 12s,” Donohue said.

Tara Campbell: “How many dogs do you have at a time?”

Ariana Luchsinger: “Ideally around 60, but we’ve been over capacity for months. It’s been close to 90 for several months.”

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Until more foster homes and permanent homes are found, they are asking people not to give up on their pets.

“Instead, ask your aunt, who has always loved your dog, if she can help. Network within your community before bringing them here,” Luchsinger said.

“We’re making a plea to try to stop the finish while we place everyone,” Donohue added.

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