OSHKOSH (NBC 26) — Local animal shelters are currently “overflowing” with dogs, many of them strays or misplaced, according to the Oshkosh Area Humane Society.
OAHS says it saw a 33% increase in wanderers over the past three-year average for the first quarter. Typically, an average of 80% of strays are returned to their owners, however, in the last two months OAHS says there has been a drastic decrease with only 63% being returned.
“Lately we’ve had all these strays and there’s no contact from an owner,” says OAHS executive director Jessica Miller.
Miller also said in a statement that other shelters have recently asked for help with their overflowing canine population. Normally, Miller says the OAHS shelter can accommodate a few dogs, but “lately our kennels have been completely full.”
There are a few contributing factors to the problem, Miller says. One is the pandemic.
“We see a lot of what we call pandemic puppies – young dogs that were adopted or purchased during the pandemic when the world was shut down. Their opportunities for socialization were extremely limited during this very important window until the age of four months. We see nervous, shy young dogs who don’t seem to have a lot of experience with a lot of everyday things,” says Miller. “Some of our dogs need more time and patience than the population we’ve seen in the past. They’re wonderful dogs, but they just haven’t had the socialization opportunities that normally would have been available.
Miller also says they have seen an increase in the number of animals from evictions. In a typical year, Miller says the shelter hosts about six animals.
“We’ve already had 10 in just four months this year,” Miller said. “People who move also report more difficulty finding affordable, pet-friendly housing.”
Additionally, OAHS says it has seen an increase in calls requesting information about low-cost veterinary services. OAHS is hosting a low-cost vaccination clinic from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 15 at its 1925 Shelter Ct. location.
OAHS also offers a 50% discount on adoption fees for any dog that has been at the shelter for four weeks or more.
Miller says people can help by adopting, temporarily encouraging an animal to open a room at the shelter, donating money or donating items from their online wish list. More information is available on their website www.oahs.org.