Shelter overcrowding leaves animals out in the cold

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January 18, 2007

AIKEN, S.C.---The weather is becoming a concern for the Aiken County Animal Shelter. Overcrowding problems are leaving some dogs out in the cold.

Typically the summertime is when you hear about overcrowding in animal shelters, but the Aiken County Shelter says this winter they're dealing with an unusual number of animals coming in daily...sometimes by the dozens.

These days, space is hard to come by.

"Right now, it seems unusually crowded," shelter director Ronald Broom told News 12. "It's not usually this crowded. I can't explain that."

Broom says canines are coming and coming and coming but not going nearly as fast. The shelter has some 130 dogs, but only 55 kennels.

"Seems like this winter we've been getting in more animals," he said.

And because of the crowded conditions inside the shelter, many of the dogs are left out in the cold.

"If we're expecting a severe ice storm, we try to get all of them inside."

While adoption may seem like the simple solution, the trouble is, many of the dogs can't be adopted.

For instance, one pit bull at the shelter bit a 12 year old and a deputy and was used for fighting. It remains in the shelter until a judge decides whether it lives or dies.

Then some animals can't go until they have the necessary testing done.

And the ones outside aren't eligible to the public until they've been inside for a week.

So until the room is available, the shelter says you can help keep the animals warm by sending blankets, dog houses, and cedar shavings.

If you want to help, you can all the Aiken County Animal Shelter at 803-642-1537.

We also checked with the shelters in Columbia and Richmond counties. They're packed too, but they say no animals are being kept outside.