ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Orange County Animal Services has temporarily stopped taking appointments for pet owners who want to give up animals they can't keep.
"Due to overcrowding, Animal Services is currently suspending appointments for pet surrenders," the shelter's website says.
The shelter reportedly made the decision when its population grew beyond capacity to 216 dogs. This is among several strategies being taken to ease crowding.
"Every day brings 20-25 more animals; as surrenders, strays, abandonments, cruelties," the shelter wrote in a Facebook post on Aug. 13. "We are doing everything we can, but we cannot do this alone. Almost every kennel is doubled up with dogs, and there are several kennels with three dogs. Our staff is stretched thin, and our volunteers work tirelessly to take them all out, make them feel loved, and get them all seen."
The shelter provided a list of suggestions for pet owners to turn to instead of bringing them to the shelter, including asking a family member to take their animal, attempting to rehome, or contacting a rescue group.
Because space is limited, the shelter is now offering free adoptions.
"We’ve dropped the fees for ready-to-go animals which are animals that have already been spade and neutered, microchip, vaccinated," said the shelter's Brian Almeida.
Animal Services is also offering a Sleepover Program which lets people take an animal home for a trial period of up to two weeks. It gives the shelter time to free up space and allows families to see if the pet is the right fit.
For more information, visit the Orange County Animal Services website.