Animal shelters remain overcrowded after Christmas

MARIANNA, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Partners for Pets in Marianna has been over capacity for several months now.

"As fast as we adopt them, we fill them right back up," manager Debbie O'Quinn said. "During kitten season we were just overflowing with kittens. Same with the puppies, too. Mostly we've been getting bigger dogs in lately being abandoned."

Abandonment and dumping animals have proved to be big problems over the last year.

"It seems to have really progressed this year," O'Quinn said. "They're just coming in from everywhere, people picking them up."

Many local shelters encouraged the public to give rescued cats and dogs as Christmas gifts.

"It was a little bit slower than normal because everybody wants puppies or kittens at Christmas, but we did adopt a few of the bigger dogs and some of the older cats, so it wasn't too bad but not like past years," O'Quinn said.

Another problem shelters face is people returning pets they received as gifts. It's a bit too early to tell if that's the case again this year.

Partners for Pets staff said it's always harder to adopt out older animals, but it's also hard to find black cats and dogs forever homes.

"Black animals are always the last to go, cats and dogs," O'Quinn said. "It's just a common syndrome across the whole country I think."

Even if you can't adopt, staff said there are other ways you can support your local animal shelter, like donating items such as food and blankets or donating your time by becoming a volunteer.

Shelter staff said the best way to help local shelters is to spay and neuter your pets. They said that's the biggest reason why so many shelters are overcrowded.