Augusta-area shelters in need of people to adopt pets

Leonor Wertheimer

There seem to be several reasons, all unfortunately converging at once, but the effect is there are dozens, even hundreds of dogs, cats, puppies and kittens in need of homes. Right now.

At Richmond County Animal Services one recent afternoon, Crystal Eskola was thrilled a rescue group arrived ready to foster a number of cats, including nursing mother cats with babies.

“Last night at 8 p.m. there were only three empty spots, and there was one mother with seven kittens,” said Eskola, the shelter’s assistant director.

There were 251 animals at the shelter that day. “And more are coming in every day,” she said.

The reason for the overcrowding is unclear.

Many animals are available for adoption at Augusta Animal Services, Augusta Animal Services, located at 4164 Mack Lane. Adoption hours are Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday noon to 5 p.m. Call (706) 790-6836.

It’s not necessarily people returning pets they got during the COVID lockdown, Eskola said. Maybe some of the overcrowding is due to veterinary offices being so busy that it’s difficult to get pets spayed and neutered in time. There are always pet surrenders, and a good portion of the cats and dogs that come into the shelter are pets waiting to be reclaimed by owners which needs to be done within five business days, she said.

The other shelters and rescue groups in the area are also bursting at the seams.

Jenny and her brother, Coltrane, are a bonded pair and must be adopted together from the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare at 199 Willow Run Road in Aiken.

Claire Roberson of the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare in Aiken said they have 196 animals now. The number of adoptions this year are down from last year, and they were dealing with fewer animals being brought in last year, so that inflates the situation. About a quarter to a third are surrendered pets, she said.

“We do believe it has a lot to do with the pandemic. Some people lost their jobs and can’t afford to care for their animals. Some are moving for a more pandemic-proof, better paying job. Some honestly want to go on vacation, and (others) are returning to work/school and don’t have time anymore,” Roberson said by email.

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