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Empty The Shelters: Maricopa County Animal Shelter Wants You To Adopt

A lot of cats and dogs come through the county animal shelter. Many are strays, but recently, more and more of them are surrenders.  Right now, the shelter is dangerously over capacity, and it waived fees for adoptions on Saturday. 

"Typically, during our fall months we see less intake, but we haven’t had that happen to us just yet," Jose Santiago, spokesperson for Maricopa County Animal Care and Control, said. "There are some days that we open up and we have less than 10 kennels available for the dogs that are coming in. We can get anywhere from 40 to 80 lost or stray animals a day."

Santiago says if you want to help but can’t adopt an animal for whatever reason, the shelter accepts donations of dog food and other pet supplies. The best thing for these animals is adoption and fostering, but anybody can help.

"We can use all the help that we can," Santiago said. "If you can’t adopt or foster, donating is the best thing you can do. We can do monetary donations, but food, toys, and treats go a long way, especially for these dogs that sometimes spend 23 hours a day in a kennel.”

Christina Burnett brought in a few large bags of dog food and some homemade fleece blankets for the animals in the shelter. 

"I've gotten all my animals from here," she said. "Since I can't take another dog, I thought, God blessed me with enough money to help out, so that's what I wanted to do."

Santiago says one of the issues they face is animal surrenders. When an owner can no longer take care of their pets, they often surrender them to the shelter. Sometimes, people leave their pets outside the shelter overnight – which is animal abandonment and a crime, according to Santiago. 

"We're here for the people that can't deal with their pets right now," he said. "If you can't surrender, sometimes there are resources out there that can help you keep your pet. If not, we're the place you should drop your animal off, and we'll help find them a forever home." 

Scott Bourque was a reporter and podcast producer at KJZZ from 2019 to 2022.