MID-MICHIGAN (WNEM) – It’s called “pandemic dog.”
It is a phenomenon not fully understood, but animal shelters are taking the brunt of the responsibility.
After an increase in animal adoptions during the pandemic, there is now an overwhelming number of dogs being dumped, abandoned, and abused.
Local shelters are bursting at the seams with dogs and are more desperate than ever for help.
“We are at a capacity crisis, no doubt,” said Bonnie Kanicki, director of the Saginaw County Animal Care and Control.
Throughout mid-Michigan, desperation is growing.
“I’ve always said, ‘it can’t get worse. It can’t get worse.’ I was absolutely wrong,” said Olivia Shields, acting manager of Bay County Animal Control.
Saginaw County has recently seen as many as 17 dogs dumped in one day.
“The ones that are abandoned and left in homes where the residents are evicted, they are left in garages, barns. They’re tied out in backyards. They’re left in the terrible elements – the rain, now the cold is coming,” Kanicki said.
Shelters in Bay, Midland, Shiawassee, and Saginaw counties – as well as many others across the state and country – do not have room to take them in.
“Many times, our volunteers and staff will check a dog in on our inventory and foster in our own homes because we have no room here. That’s how dedicated our people are,” Kanicki said.
When shelters are not immediately able to take a canine, they are seeing them abandoned at a rate they can barely handle.
“We can get 10 out, but we still get 12 back in,” Kanicki said.
She said it’s a lot for her staff.
“We actually have a very small staff to serve a very large demand of the county,” Kanicki said. “And we get them neglected, broken, injured, hit by a car, in need of medical attention, heart worm positive. We get them in situations, no fault of their own, many by human failure.”
The question is, why is this happening now?
“Is it inflation? I don’t know that anybody can answer that. We have …….