Clark, Champaign shelters see increase in stray, returned animals

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Animal shelters in Clark and Champaign counties are seeing an increase in strays or animals being returned.

The Clark County Dog Shelter has taken in 320 dogs since January, including 309 strays and 11 returned from adoptions.

“People can help by keeping their dog’s current license tag attached to their dog’s collars so that we can quickly return the dog to its home when it wanders off. I strongly encourage microchips for those that lose collars, and to provide positive proof of ownership,” Clark County Dog Warden Sandi Click said.

“The biggest issue with overcrowding in the shelter is that we’re picking up more strays than normal. We believe that’s due to some dogs being dumped in public areas, as well as some dogs simply getting loose and being picked up by dog wardens,” said Clark County Public Information Officer Michael Cooper.

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The Clark County SPCA, which operates only on donations, fundraisers and grants, has also noticed increases in stray animals, including releases from owner, cruelty cases and hoarding cases, said Executive Director Krissi Hawke.

The SPCA has taken in 419 animals since January, including 126 dogs, 291 cats, one donkey and one pig. A total of 39 animals were returned after adoption but have since found new homes.

“Most stray dogs go through our dog warden office. We are contracted with them to bring us strays when we are needed. We do take owner surrenders as space allows, but with larger dogs we prefer to do a courtesy post on our Facebook page to help the owners themselves place their own dogs into a new home if possible,” Hawke said in an email. “We do take stray/owner release cats, but we have a waiting list in order to bring in cats/kittens as soon as we have space available.”

A shelter in Champaign County is seeing an increase in owner surrenders.

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“We have had several ‘pull up’ and want to surrender, however we do require an appointment for surrendering and have quite a list going now. We have also experienced ‘dump offs’ with cats/kitten,” Tiger Franks, Executive Director of the Champaign County Animal Welfare League said in an email. “People do not understand that when an organization is full, they are usually over capacity and cannot handle the load of anything else... if we overload ourselves, we cannot do justice for any of our animals.”

“The stray population has also increased, but this time of the year is always an increase in strays,” Franks said. “The cat/kitten population has increased dramatically most likely due to the inability to get spays/neuters done, not only due to quarantine/COVID, but also the need for veterinarians and vet techs.”

By the numbers

309: Strays picked up by Clark County Dog Shelter since January.

419: Number of animals, including one pig, Clark County SPCA has picked up this year.

119: Number of stray dogs or puppies picked up by Champaign County Animal Welfare League since January

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