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Borough Animal Shelter sees increased intakes, fewer adoptions

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 5:30 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - This year, Animal Control in the Fairbanks North Star Borough has seen an influx in the number of animals requiring their care.

There are open kennels at the Fairbanks North Star Borough Animal Shelter. However, this doesn’t mean they can comfortably take on more furry friends.

The key lies in the difference between capacity and capacity of care.

“We are looking at the whole health of the animal and not just their physical needs being met,” said Kimberly Imbert, Animal Shelter Operations Supervisor. “We could stack kennels and we can feed and water animals up to a certain point, and we could exceed our capacity of care by doing that, but we also have to keep in consideration the mental health of our animals and provide them enrichment and interaction with people and time outside.”

During 2022, the shelter has frequently reached its capacity of care. “We’ve had a lot of intakes. We’ve been very full for the majority of the year,” Imbert said.

Animals are sheltered there for a number of reasons. Strays are brought in, as are animals in quarantine for biting.

The summer tends to see an influx for the latter reason. “Because people are more active and more out and about with their pets, we do have a lot more bites happen.”

A large number of animals are also surrendered by their owners.

The trend of more intakes and fewer adoptions is not unique to Fairbanks, with shelters seeing similar effects in the lower-48. “Some shelters are able to not intake every thing that people want to drop off, so they have a waitlist for animals that need to come into their care, and those animals are numbering in the hundreds from some shelters.”

The shelter has, in the last few months, begun using euthanasia to manage the number of animals needing care. “Space hasn’t been an issue and a reason for euthanasia for many years until this year.”

There are steps pet owners in the Fairbanks North Star Borough can take to alleviate the situation, including keeping their pets contained, “respecting the leash law, keeping your animals safely home and in your care. If your animal does end up at the shelter, coming and picking it up as soon as possible,” Imbert explained.

Owners should also make sure their animals are in safe situations with humans to avoid quarantine intake.

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