Dog rescues staying busy as animal shelters are overcrowded

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 10:55 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - Animal shelters in the valley are struggling to make room for pets coming through the door.

“What’s happening right now in Virginia is some of the dogs that were adopted during COVID when everybody was quarantined, are being returned,” Founder of Dogs Deserve Better Blue Ridge, Kimberly Hawk, said.

That’s causing many rural shelters, especially, to be overrun and ask for help from rescues and the community to adopt or foster dogs. If they can’t get the pets out, it forces them to euthanize to make space.

“Nobody wants to do that. That’s a very difficult thing for them to do with a healthy, young, adoptable animal. So, we’ve recently pulled four dogs from two different shelters from rural areas of Virginia,” Hawk said.

While dog rescue, Dogs Deserve Better Blue Ridge is trying to help by finding foster families, they say they’re full, too.

“There’s still the need in the community. We get, probably, 100 requests a week to take in people’s dogs for whatever reason,” Hawk said.

She’s encouraging people in the community to help by adopting rescue dogs from 501c3 rescues and local shelters to keep the euthanasia rates down in Virginia.

If you adopted a dog and are now feeling overwhelmed with the responsibility, Hawk suggests reaching out to the place you adopted from. She said oftentimes they will help provide resources or supply training to keep the dog in the home.

With over 30 dogs in their program now, DDBB is having to reach out to other rescue partners across the state, while also working to get as many dogs off chains and into pens as possible.

“One of our goals, especially in this extreme heat, we don’t want dogs on chains to get stuck, like they do sometimes, get tangled up, and they have heat stroke, so it’s a very deadly situation for a dog that’s chained in this extreme heat,” Hawk said.

DDBB will be partnering with other area rescues for a fundraiser where people can donate pens or money to go toward the purchase of them.

In 2020, it became a law that if it’s hotter than 85 degrees or under 32 degrees, dogs cannot be chained up; however, Hawk said there are still many dogs that are and they want to fix that.

If you notice that a dog is chained up outside in the heat without shade, you should call your local animal control department for them address the issue.

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