"It’s been hectic. Been people just dropping off left and right. We get more in than we can adopt out and even rescue out,” adoption coordinator and receptionist Sarah Gulledge told local news outlet WHNT19 –TV in a recent interview.
So far this month, the animal center has received 230 animals. Some 176 of those pets were owner surrenders and 54 were strays, the outlet reported. Shelter workers told the news agency the coronavirus is to blame for the recent spike.
“The corona, I mean, it’s kind of hit everybody hard. You know, they may have lost their job and they probably couldn’t afford to feed them,” said Gulledge.
More than half of the 230 animals had to be euthanized because there was not enough room to house them, per the outlet. The center has 48 kennels for dogs and one cat room, with a 7-day stray hold policy before an animal can be adopted or before it’s euthanized.
According to the ASPCA, there are several agencies that are trying to help pet owners keep their pets during this pandemic, which are listed on its website. Agencies, including RedRover, a national nonprofit animal welfare organization, has resource programs for those in need of help covering costs. Other groups, such as Drifter’s Hearts of Hope and the Kentucky Horse Council, are also offering help to equine owners during the pandemic.
“Since the pandemic began, we have noticed a huge increase in our Urgent Care grants applications that help animals in life-threatening situations. So many people have become unemployed and underemployed and need financial help to care for their pets," a spokesperson for RedRover told Fox News.
The nonprofit group, which is based in California, also said that it “offers emergency boarding grants to pet owners who have been hospitalized or are recovering at home from COVID-19, as well as domestic violence survivors who are escaping abuse with their pets."
"We are committed to helping people and pets in crisis during the pandemic, and beyond," the group added.
As for the Alabama shelter, adoption requests are being made by appointments and all visitors must wear masks while at the facility.