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Animal shelter kennels full of dogs

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Jonas tests his climbing skills in the play yard at the Jackson County Animal Shelter.
Adoption fees reduced Saturday and Sunday

With the pandemic pet adoption craze over, the Jackson County Animal Shelter is full of dogs that need homes.

The shelter is slashing the regular $150 dog adoption fee to $50 this coming weekend in an effort to make more room for incoming dogs. The discount applies to medium and large dogs that are at least six months old.

No appointments are needed to visit the shelter on weekends. The hours of the special adoption event are noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The shelter is located at 5595 S. Pacific Highway, between Phoenix and Talent.

Animal shelters across the nation are caring for more dogs due to a slowdown in adoptions over the last several months. When people were laid off or started working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, many adopted puppies and dogs.

Those puppies have now grown into energetic adolescents — and some people are overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for and training a dog. Many people have gone back to work and can’t be home with their dogs.

“They were lonely, so they got a puppy during COVID. Now the dog is 18 months old, 70 pounds and is chewing on things in the house,” said Kim Casey, program manager for Jackson County Animal Services. “Adolescent dogs are high energy. It’s probably more than the owner expected.”

With the pandemic easing, many people are planning vacations and don’t want to adopt a dog, she said.

Adding to the problem, the ongoing lack of housing in the Rogue Valley is affecting dogs as well as people. It’s hard to have a pet without stable housing, Casey said.

Teculia is available for adoption at the Jackson County Animal Shelter.

The Jackson County Animal Shelter, like many shelters, is seeing an influx of medium and large dogs and a drop-off in the numbers of small dogs and puppies, which tend to get adopted more quickly.

“Shelters have gotten into a bind,” Casey said. “Animals are sitting for longer periods of time. As they sit in the shelter, they get frustrated, bored and stressed out. They may not present as well when people come in.”

Shelter staff and volunteers are doing what they can for dogs with walks, play time and individualized training.

Dogs that are especially stressed out are placed in foster homes, but it’s hard to have enough foster homes for medium and large dogs, Casey said.

As a facility run by the Jackson County government, the animal shelter is required to take in stray dogs. It’s not required to take in cats, although it does have some cats available for adoption.

More than half of dogs now entering the shelter are strays. Normally the mix would be about half strays and half dogs surrendered by owners who can’t or don’t want to take care of them anymore, Casey said.

Without enough room to take all dogs, the animal shelter has a waiting list for dogs that owners want to surrender, she said.

Part of the reason for offering the dog adoption discount this weekend is to make room for dogs on that wait list, Casey said.

Most of the dogs available for adoption are less than three years old. Many are pit bull mixes.

Casey said pit bulls and pit bull mixes tend to be energetic dogs. They sometimes face adoption challenges because of negative stereotypes about the breed, she said.

“They’re nice dogs. They’ve all passed a temperament evaluation. If the owner doesn’t understand its needs and desires, any breed of dog can be a problem,” Casey said.

The shelter also has several working breed dogs like German shepherds, Labrador retrievers, a hound, a blue heeler and an Alaskan Malamute.

Gilmore, a blue heeler, awaits adoption at the Jackson County Animal Shelter.

The animal shelter discloses behavioral or health problems that dogs have. For example, a dog may have killed chickens, but would do well in a home without chickens, Casey said.

All the dogs available for adoption have been spayed or neutered and microchipped. They’ve received flea treatment and are up-to-date on their shots. A collar and leash is included with each dog, and adopters will receive a gift basket from Friends of the Animal Shelter.

To view available dogs online, visit www.fotas.org/adopting-from-the-jackson-county-animal-shelter/dog/.

During the weekend adoption event, adopters must still go through the standard adoption process, which includes filling out an application and meeting screening requirements. In addition to the $50 adoption fee, adopters who live in Jackson County are responsible for paying $25 for an annual dog license.

The weekend event is made possible by Friends of the Animal Shelter, which will pay to cover the discount offer for every reduced-fee dog adopted this weekend. The group will also provide the volunteers needed to hold the event.

The discount doesn’t apply to dogs younger than 6 months, dogs under 30 pounds or cats.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.