Animal shelter sees record number of pet surrenders

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Updated: 12/11/2013 4:50 am
With only so much space to give, the Lubbock Animal Shelter has had to adjust to housing a staggering number of animals who need a permanent family. 

"We see a lot of puppies and kittens, and I don't think the message is getting across like we want it to," Shelter Supervisor Shawn Byrd said. "People have these litters, and they think, 'Oh, we'll be able to find homes for them', and they won't."

Byrd said that message is to educate yourself on what it is like to have a pet before walking out of their doors with one. 

"Animals take a lot of time," Byrd said. "Dogs, if you live in an apartment, you have to walk them two or three times a day. They cost money. A first year for an animal is usually about $800. That's for vet care, food, toys, whatever you can think of. They're not an inexpensive hobby, like some things are. So, that's why we try to educate people."

Although the number of adoptions increased from 2012 to 2013, the shelter has had more than 1,900 owner surrenders this year. That is about 200 more than in 2012, and that doesn't count the strays that come in. 

The shelter tends to see a jump in numbers this time of year around Christmas. Byrd said it's important to make sure you are ready for the responsibility of a pet before taking one home. 

"We don't want these animals to go out, settle into this home, then all of a sudden they're back here," Byrd said. "I never thought animals had feelings, whatever you want to call that. But I've actually seen them leave here, then come back, and for whatever reason, they get depressed, for lack of a better term."

He said even if you are not ready to own a pet, volunteering at the shelter is a way to give the animals some TLC, even if it's just for an hour or so a day. 

The shelter is also trying to up its social media efforts. They have begun posting pictures of animals up for adoption on their Facebook page. To visit the page, click here
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