It's that time of year again, when children go back to school, the baseball pennant races heat up and when more and more critters in animal shelters are in need of a good home.
Back-to-school means bad-for-business for animal adoptions because it seems like families have less free time on their hands to look for a new pet, said Allison Lindquist, executive director of the East Bay SPCA.
Add an economy that has been in the doldrums for three years to and there's plenty of animals in need of a good home.
"The problem has gotten so bad in the past few years. It hasn't gotten worse, thank God," Lindquist said. “I think it’s safe to say that all of the shelters are slammed to capacity.”
Budget cuts to county animal shelters have added to the problem as has a rise in the number of stray animals and more animals being surrendered to shelters because their owners can’t afford to care for them, Lindquist said.
The SPCA alone takes in about 1,000 strays a year in Alameda County. The number of dogs its shelters have taken in since 2008 has increased by 28 percent and the number of cats has increased by 6 percent.
The SPCA has shelters in Dublin and Oakland and the non-profit organization also takes animals from county shelters that would otherwise be euthanized. The SPCA keeps animals until they are adopted.
“Cats are a huge problem. Half of the cats that go into shelters don’t make it out,” Lindquist said. “We work closely with municipal shelters. They are stuck between a rock and a hard place with having their funding cut.”
Find a good home for pit bulls is another challenge, Lindquist said. She attributed that to the breed having a bad rap.
Another reason why shelters are filled is because people think the animals are “retreads,” but they aren’t and many of the dogs are purebreds, Lindquist said.
And there is an increasing number of livestock – especially horses – that are in need of homes because they are being abandoned in the rural parts of the Tri-Valley. Sometimes horses are being found just wandering the streets, Lindquist said.
The SPCA does several special events every year to help boost adoptions, like its annual Adopt-A-Thon at Jack London Square in Oakland.