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Oshkosh animal shelter sees 'drastic' increase in dogs

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Posted at 2:38 PM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-05 19:16:31-04

OSHKOSH (NBC 26) — A local animal shelter is seeing significantly more dogs going through its doors.

The Oshkosh Area Humane Society reports it's seen a 33% increase in the number of strays compared to the past three-year average for the first quarter. While an average of 80% of those dogs are usually returned to their owners, OAHS said only 63% have been claimed in the last two months.

"Lately we’ve been getting all these strays in and there’s no contact from an owner,” said Jessica Miller, OAHS Executive Director.

Miller also said other shelters have recently asked for help with their overflowing dog population. She said the pandemic may be a reason they're seeing more dogs go unclaimed.

"People are displaced from their homes more. They're falling on hard times," Miller said. "They may just see no other option other then to just abandon their animal."

With that increase, Miller said they're also seeing more "pandemic pups," young dogs bought during the pandemic, who are struggling with socialization and need a little extra help from shelter staff.

"We do have quite a few dogs that would need to be an only pet, so that narrows the field for their adaptability a little bit," Miller said.

So how can people help? Miller said they need more foster homes to open up space at the shelter and get to know the dogs personalities better.

“Our shelter is a wonderful place, but let’s be honest, animals find it to be very stressful," Miller said. "There are triggers everywhere that stress out animals, and dogs in particular go into a kind of shut down mode. When we see that happening, then there are other unwanted behaviors that accompany that sort of thing, and we realize that they would be so much better off if they could just have a break from the shelter and go live in a foster home. Then we can learn a lot more about them in a home setting, which makes them even more adoptable.”

Miller said the shelter also hopes to offer training packages for people who adopt to set them, and their pets, up for success.

OAHS has 50% off adoption fees for any dog who has been at the shelter for four weeks or longer.

Miller said people can also make a monetary donation or donate items from their online wish list. More information is available on their website www.oahs.org.