Dogs, cats overrunning shelter

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— In the past two weeks, the Steamboat Springs Animal Shelter has experienced an influx of dogs and cats being dropped off, putting the shelter at over capacity.
The animal shelter houses 19 dogs, 22 puppies and three cats, said Lisa Lesyshen, a staff assistant.
"Usually we have five or six dogs and about three cats," Lesyshen said. "But we have had a lot of people drop off their animals for various reasons in the past two weeks."
With the current population, decisions will be made soon to put some of the animals to sleep, she said.
"Decisions are being made for dogs that have to be put down, because we are so full, " she said.
At this point, the shelter has yet to put any of the animals to sleep.
The decision whether to put an animal down will be made by Stacy Hayes, local animal control officer. Hayes could not be reached for comment. She is out of the office for a week.
There are a number of criteria Hayes uses to pick which animals are put down, Lesyshen said.
"We identify which are the aggressive dogs, who has been at the shelter the longest and which dogs are unlikely to get adopted," she said of some of the criteria.
Animals must be put down because of the strain they put on the shelter.
"We are using up our resources quickly," she said. "We also can't take any more animals because we are so full."
Pet owners have given many excuses for why they are surrendering their animals to the shelter, she said.
"Many say they do not have time, or they are moving or the dogs are just not working out," she said. "One owner told us the dog was too big to have in their house.
"We have dogs being dropped off that people have had for a number of years."
To try and find homes for the animals, the shelter advertises and calls people that are on a waiting list for specific breeds, she said.
The shelter also welcomes anyone to drop in and adopt an animal.
"We need people to come down now," she said. "Anybody looking for a pet should come here now.
"Hopefully, we can get people down here, who will take some animals home."

To reach Gary E. Salazar call 871-4205 or e-mail gsalazar@amigo.net

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