OSHKOSH (NBC 26) — Oshkosh Area Humane Society has too many cats!
The animal shelter says has exceeded its capacity for cats and is looking to the community for help.
“We took in 55 cats in the last week, 18 from a single residence. It’s at a rate unseen before in the last decade I’ve been with the organization,” says OAHS Executive Director Jessica Miller. “We desperately need adopters, foster homes, and supplies.”
The many issues facing pets and pet owners have been snowballing since the COVID pandemic started. Director Miller said there was a huge adoption surge at the beginning of the pandemic. Then, after pandemic-related shutdowns were lifted and people went back to work, they face difficulties maintaining their animals.
Spay/neuter services were also difficult to obtain with limited staffing and appointment availability at many clinics, and now Miller says animal shelters have a nationwide veterinarian shortage. Plus, animal shelters have seen a 300% increase in animals impounded from abandonments and evictions.
“We’ve received multiple pleas from other shelters from across the country asking for help with their population and hoping to transfer animals to a less-crowded shelter. But right now all shelters are crowded everywhere. It’s very sad because shelters that haven’t euthanized healthy, adoptable animals in many years are now having to make those tough decisions because the animals just keep coming in and there aren’t enough going out,” says OAHS Admissions Manager Jennifer Ollanketo.
Both Miller and Ollanketo agree the lack of affordable pet-friendly housing is a huge barrier for pet owners in keeping or adopting animals. Ollanketo suggests renters who have or want pets should carefully review their pet policies and associated fees before signing up for a new place.
OAHS needs foster homes to temporarily house some of the many cats waiting for room to open up on the adoption floor. Those considering fostering should fill out an application form at www.oahs.org. Supplies are also needed and those interested in donating can also find a list of most needed items on the website.