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Arkansas animal shelters full following 'pandemic pet' adoptions

Overcrowded animal shelters is a problem that happens gradually, and multiple factors play a role in it.

MALVERN, Ark. — Animal shelters are struggling across the country and state from the impacts of overcrowding.

This was the case at The City of Malvern Animal Shelter, but luckily, they found some help. 

BISSELL Pet Foundation moved 61 dogs from the Malvern shelter to help them get adopted, but Malvern isn't the only shelter that has this problem.

Overcrowding is a problem that happens gradually, and multiple factors play a role in it.

"When a shelter is over capacity, it is so hard on the staff," Kim Alboum said, Director of Shelter Outreach and Policy Development for BISSELL Pet Foundation. "They're trying to care for more animals than they have the ability to care for. Every cage is full, every space is full."

Shelters don't become over capacity overnight; multiple things have played a role in this widespread issue. One of those is diversity within shelters.

"It's not just a matter of the number of animals, it's also the type of animals,” Alboum said. “We're seeing a lot of large dogs that are having a longer life stay in shelters."

Alboum said adoptions have fallen off in general. At the height of the pandemic families got their "pandemic pet" and now that's not the case.

"It's creating a bottleneck on adoptions," Alboum said. "Places that we wouldn't expect this to happen, it's happening.”

In the Natural State, Alboum said the biggest issue our shelters are facing is the lack of 'return to owner.' Pets get away from their house and then never make it back.

"All the animals that are out wandering are not necessarily stray animals," Alboum said. "Many of them are loved and owned pets, but many of them end up in the shelter. We must do better at getting those pets home."

Alboum said how to fix capacity issues is all action. Go to shelters and adopt or simply get involved to help them find homes.

The Bissell Pet Foundation uses shelters that are doing well to help others that are in need. 

Alboum said BISSELL will train shelters across Arkansas soon and that the training topics are up to the shelters and rescues to really address their individual needs.

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