CINCINNATI (WKRC) - The Cincinnati area's county-funded animal shelter is beyond capacity.
Cincinnati Animal Care is so full right now, it is using tiny temporary kennels to hold its dogs.
"The situation now is what we call 'Code Red’,” Cincinnati Animal Care’s Ray Anderson said. “To put it in simpler terms -- It's bad."
There are 180 dogs in a facility designed for 100. The shelter is no longer accepting immediate owner surrenders and may need to start doubling-up dogs in kennels.
Cincinnati Animal Care is so full, its executive offices are doubling as kennels right now. One office is holding a pit-mix named Forest. A conference room has another dog that just came in – he does not even have a name yet. And Kevin, a small mutt that has lost the use of its back legs, is in the executive director’s office.
Management says because college students headed home for summer and people are heading back to the office post-COVID-19, fostering is down, and intake is up. And the county began its contract with Animal Cares in 2019 at $337,000 a month. Now it is $250,000 a month.
SPCA Cincinnati dropped its county contract and is now funded through private donations.
"The main reason why we stopped doing the dog warden's job for the county is because the funding wasn't there," said Mike Retzlaff, president and CEO of SPCA Cincinnati.
He says when they left the county shelter in 2019, they had open kennels and suggests Cincinnati Animal Care begin focusing more on private donations and hiring more medical staff, to get sick animals well enough to adopt out.
"Disease management is a big part of it,” said Retzlaff. “Once we got that under control, we were able to get the dogs and cats out quicker."
Local 12 asked the county commission whether it is funding animal care well-enough. A representative said it is currently seeking land on which to build a new shelter or purchasing an existing building to renovate. In the meantime, Animal Cares is focusing on increasing adoptions, and fosters like Hailey Limoges.
"Me and Bacon here just connected!" said Hailey, as she loaded up the hound into her car for a day at the park. A brief respite for Bacon, before he is squeezed back in with his buddies.
There is no word on a timeline for a new shelter. By law, Cincinnati Animal Care must still take-in strays and other animals retrieved by animal control.