BLACKFOOT, Idaho (KIFI) - The Blackfoot Animal Shelter and Rescue has had to euthanize more animals in the last two months than in the last five years, according to shelter directors. They say if people in the area don't make a change, shelters will need to put even more animals down.
"If we aren't able to adopt out, at least ten more are at risk for euthanization," animal shelter staff member Kamryn Husbey said.
According to Blackfoot Animal Control, the main culprits are irresponsible breeders and pet owners. Deputy Captain Emmy-Lou Capson tells us COVID-19 era spending led to overbreeding and overindulgence by pet owners.
"Once COVID kind of went away and they didn't have as much time on their hands, they realized I didn't have the time for the dogs and stuff," Capson said. "They had people who were over breeding because people at that time were paying big money because there was stimulus money out there for the dogs and cats. And so now people are just realizing they don't have the time for them and they're just leaving them by dumping them."
Often animals aren't even surrendered to the shelters. It's more common for animal control or the shelters will find them abandoned.
"We've had puppies dumped in a crate here before," Husbey said. "A lot of people will just drive out to Fort Hall and just let them go out there, let them fend for themselves."
"It seems that we're probably bringing in probably about 10 to 11 dogs a week," Capson said. "Cats, we're bringing in tons of cats to the point that we just don't we don't have any kennels for anything. The cats are doubled up. The dogs are doubled up...no one's coming to get their animals."
While we talked to animal shelter workers, two teenagers, Jose and Priscilla, brought in a dog they found abandoned in their neighborhood. The pair say they'd spent three days looking for the owner, but came to the shelter as a last resort.
"I just want the owners to find the dog because it's not ours," Priscilla said. "He has a collar, but it has no name on it.
"I feel sad leaving him here," she continued. "I feel like I'm abandoning him, but he's not my dog, so I can't keep him."
Husbey tells us the community has responded positively to their outreach, and the shelter has had at least nine adoptions over the week. But if more aren't adopted soon, more will be euthanized.
The Blackfoot Animal Shelter wrote on social media, "This is not acceptable." They urging people to spay and neuter and stop abandoning their pets.