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Humane Society Shelter Stresses Appointment Policy Over Holidays

BEND, OR -- The Humane Society of Central Oregon is struggling to accommodate everyone who needs to give up an animal, at a time when shelter capacity is unpredictable, "The drive for adoption around the holidays is usually very high. But we also see an uptick in intake during that time, as well," says HSCO Animal Management Director Karen Burns. 

She tells KBND News, since the pandemic, the shelter has asked people to make an appointment if they need to surrender a pet. Pre-scheduling allows the Bend shelter to make sure shelter space and appropriate staff are available for things like medical care and kennel cleaning. But, Burns says, too many pet owners aren't following that procedure, which strains resources. "It’s detrimental to the animal, at that point, too, because you’re forcing a same-day intake when we don’t have the resources to take care of that animal."

Late last week, someone left a litter of puppies in the Bend shelter’s parking lot. "Three-week-old puppies that are left in our parking lot with no mom; I mean, that’s basically worst case scenario." Burns says HSCO was very lucky to be able to find foster homes on such short notice, "It can be really hard, especially around the holidays. Trying to get those puppies out the week before Thanksgiving was a challenge."

Reasons for a pet's surrender vary, but Burns says many come in because of changes in living situations. "Sometimes I get calls from people who say it’s an emergency because they knew they were moving for two months and they waited until the last day to call me. To me, that’s not an emergency." She adds, "If you know you’re moving in a month, even if you’re not 100% sure that you want to surrender your animal or that you need to surrender your animal, call me. We can have a conversation, I can get you on the schedule. And, if you’re able to rehome them or you’re able to find housing in that time that allows your animal, then it’s just simply canceling your appointment, and you have that appointment to fall back on."

If you’d like to help, HSCO needs more foster families. Donations of canned dog food and treats are also appreciated. The shelter reports food donations have declined this year, leaving some cupboards empty


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