No Vacancy at Animal Shelters in Busy Season

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The Capital Area Humane Society is completely full. So is Cascades Humane Society in Jackson. Ingham County Animal Control is past capacity.

"Everybody's hopping," said Jamie McAloon-Lampman, Director of Ingham County Animal Control. "It's a very stressful time right now. We have a threshhold and it's 100 dogs in this shelter and right now we're pushing that."

The average occupancy at animal control is about 85 animals. In the summer, that number can jump to 115. In a 24-hour period from Thursday to Friday, Animal Control collected 60 dogs, said McAloon-Lampman.

She says it's the result of an active summer season, which she and Holly Lawrence, Director of Operations at the Capital Area Humane Society, attribute to the busyness of summer and the frequency of travel.

"If they're thinking about not keeping a pet for whatever reason and going out of town, they go out of town on a trip, instead of finding a house sitter or board them at a kennel," Lawrence said. "They say now's as good a time as any to surrender them to the shelter."

As a result Lawrence says her shelter's 290 cages are completely full. There's even a waiting list for the animals that can't yet fit.

The blame rests partly on cats.

"It's kitten season," Lawrence said. "Most cats don't have kittens in the fall and winter months so spring and summer are very busy."

Cats reproduction cycles are based on light cycles. When the days start getting longer, cats start reproducing. And all cats reproduce at about the same time -- around February and March.

"Which means 63 days after that, they're having kittens," Lawrence said.

And once in animal shelters, Lawrence says kittens can pose problems for the more mature cats.

"The older animals I think are a little bit easier for people to say no to," she said. "When we have kittens the adults stay for a much longer time."

The Humane Society is holding sales and promotions to try to make room for more animals, with a goal of 1,200 adoptions by the end of the summer.

That's how people can help, said Jamie McAloon-Lampman, by adopting, serving as foster families or by donating money to the shelters.

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