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'It's unprecedented' | Franklin County Humane Society desperate for help, swamped with strays

Right now, the shelter is asking for people to adopt and foster animals, especially big dogs.

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Mo. — An animal shelter in Union, Missouri is trying to keep up with an overwhelming number of cats and dogs.

The Franklin County Humane Society has no more space for animals, a problem that's taking over shelters nationwide.

It's something Mary Lovern has never seen in her 13 years volunteering there.

"It's unprecedented. An unlimited amount of strays coming in, people surrendering animals because they can't take care of them, hoarding situations. It's just unbelievable," Lovern said.

The shelter is swamped with strays.

Lovern explains since it's in a rural county, it takes in pets from multiple counties.

"We have dogs in the shelter driven from Bourbon and Sullivan because there is no one to take them in that area," Lovern said. 

She said since every shelter is packed, some people are driving far to find some space for the dogs or cats.

Many of the pets packed at Franklin County Humane Society are results of the pandemic.

"We had a lot of adoptions in the beginning of the pandemic," she said. "But people are going back to work, people are deciding they don't have time for the pet or at this point, it's expenses because of the economic turn. Paying more for everything, people find a pet is very expensive."

Now, this is doubling what it can handle.

Normally, it's comfortable with 120 cats and dogs.

Right now, it has 260 animals in its care with only 22 dog kennels.

Lovern says 57 animals are in foster care with 40 adoptable cats and 18 adoptable dogs available.

"We have a lot of stray holds because the state requires us to hold an animal for seven days so if an owner wants to reclaim it, but doing so takes up kennel space," Lovern said. 

Because of this, the overflow spilled into every part of the facility.

"We just have them in every nook and cranny in the shelter. We had puppies behind the front desk, we have a Rottweiler with some special needs living in our office."

That's why it's on an intake freeze.

Normally it's an open admission shelter, but to keep the animals safe, it has to put a limit.

"If you're an animal lover, we need you! We're hoping if we have more animals to foster we'll have more space available," Lovern said.

Right now the shelter is asking for people to adopt and foster animals, especially big dogs.

If you don't want a pet, but want to donate, they also need Purina Puppy Chow.

To donate or find out more information, click here.

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