St. Joseph County sees an increase in abandoned animals this summer

CENTREVILLE — St. Joseph County Animal Control has received more abandoned animals this summer than it has in years.
St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Greg Musser, animal control supervisor, said the number of abandoned animals is always higher in the summer but this year has been especially high.
“There are usually more animals abandoned in summer than in winter, but this summer we have seen more abandoned animals than we have in years,” he said. “We have seen an increase in the last several months of people abandoning dogs.”
According to Musser, the shelter has been at capacity several times this summer already.
“We are not a big facility, we can only hold about 17 dogs. If people bring in more animals after that, we have to turn them away because we do not have enough space in the facility. We only have so many stalls,” he said. “We have been at full capacity this summer multiple times.”
Dogs are not the only animals being cast aside, said Musser.
“We have had one of the highest numbers of cats housed in this facility in years,” he said. “We are aware that there is currently a cat issue in the county and we have been working with the Michigan Department of Agriculture to resolve this issue.”
Musser said it is difficult to pinpoint why people abandon their animals, but noted that it could involve financial difficulties or simply lack of knowledge concerning SJC Animal control.
“Everybody thinks that if they drop off a dog at our shelter that there is a good chance of the dog just being put down, we don’t do that,” he said. “Our adoption rate is at 95 percent and we have a less than 5 percent euthanasia rate, which is one of the best rates in Michigan.”
If you see someone abandoning an animal, Musser said to call 911 right away, for it is classified as a misdemeanor.
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