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State of the Shelter: MAC Continues Facing Capacity Crisis

March 11, 2022

A Note From Our Executive Director

Late last year, alarm bells began to sound at animal shelters all over the Country – intakes of animals, particularly dogs, had returned to pre-pandemic levels, but adoptions, transfers and other outcomes were not keeping pace, likely because so many people’s homes were already overfilled with Pandemic Pets.

Think of a shelter as a pipe – the amount of water flowing in must equal the water flowing out, or the system backs up. In our case, when more animals come in than go out, space runs out, individualized care gets harder to give and animals begin to suffer. MAC has not been immune to this national sheltering crisis. We have approximately 175 high quality housing spaces for dogs, yet we started off 2022 with 241 dogs in our care; in January, 217 more came in, and in February another 204 entered.

Despite our best efforts, there are simply not enough adopters or foster homes for all of them (let alone the hundreds of cats and other animals in our care). This story is being echoed all over the nation, most recently reported in a recent Today Show feature “Animal Shelters Warn of Looming Crisis”.

Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do to fix the situation alone. We are constantly putting out the call for foster homes and adopters, featuring animals in local pet stores and in the media, launching programs like K9 to 5 and Trailblazers as unique exposure opportunities for adoptable dogs. We routinely waive fees for animal reclaims to be sure no animal remains in our care because his owner can’t afford to take him back, and we regularly offer adoption discounts and entirely fee-waived adoption promotions.

In the last month-and-a-half we performed $10,000.00 worth of free spay/neuter surgeries. We have asked the public to help us keep animals out of the shelter when possible, supporting them to solve behavior challenges or rehome their pets themselves, and asking finders of lost pets to hang on to them for us if possible.

And of course, we are doing it all at a time when staffing shortages are widespread, wage expectations are outpacing out ability as a nonprofit to pay, and inflation is skyrocketing (not to mention the cost of gas for our animal protection vehicles!).

Of course we need more adopters. Of course we need more foster homes. Of course we need more donations from animal lovers to help us continue providing the highest levels of care for every pet in need. But we also need compassion and support from our community, because an already difficult job caring for abandoned and neglected animals has gotten exponentially tougher this year. As a supporter of MAC, I want to thank you personally for all you have done for us and for the animals. 2022 is no doubt going to continue to be a particularly difficult year, but with your continued support we will not only get through it, we will thrive and become even stronger!

With gratitude,

Inga Fricke

MAC Executive Director