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San Marcos Animal Shelter struggling with overpopulation, encouraging adoption

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The San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter  has carried high populations throughout the year and continues to struggle to find homes for man’s best friend.

Regulations set up by the shelter and city ordinances make it difficult to house large amounts of animals in the shelter.

When animals are brought to the shelter, the city of San Marcos cannot turn down them down, which fuels the overpopulation problem, said Kara Montiel, animal services manager for the shelter.

“We are a shelter that really tries to hold all that we can,” Montiel said. “City ordinance states that we have to keep animals for a specific amount of time before we can euthanize them.”

The shelter does not euthanize unless space is desperately needed or animals aren’t getting adopted, Montiel said.

Sometimes animals are brought in because their owners do not hold the capacity to take care of their pets, Montiel said. Different pets come back to the shelter once the owner realizes they cannot pay and keep up with having an animal, she said.

“The best way to prevent the overpopulation of our shelters is to (spay) your pets,” said Erin McCann, animal shelter supervisor. “The animal shelter in San Marcos is an intake facility, meaning we take everything. If you (spay), it will really help us out.”

McCann said there is a city ordinance in San Marcos that does not allow people to have more than four dogs and a combined total of seven pets. She said if you fail to comply with these rules, animal control will take immediate action and take away all of the individuals pets.

The city has strict rules on how to take care of pets, and because of that the shelter really pushes adopters to make sure they can afford to take care of the animal, Montiel said. There are a lot of rules to follow, which are all in place to protect the pets adopted or bought.

“All of those animals will then be brought here to the shelter, so you can see how quickly our numbers can pile up for animals,” McCann said.

The shelter is also dealing with animals that come in from different areas without homes, Montiel said.

“We have students who will bring animals from back home who they found on the streets,” Montiel said. “It can be frustrating because they should really be taking those animals to the shelters they belong to. Our capacity is full, and when other animals come in from different areas in can be difficult.”

The intake facility rule has gray areas that put the animal shelter in a tough spot, Montiel said. Even if animals are brought in from different areas, we have no choice but to take them in.

Cheyenne Watson, communications disorders sophomore, has avidly adopted animals from shelters all her life. Morally, Watson said adopting at a shelter just makes sense.

“I am completely against buying animals at stores and breeding grounds,” Watson said. “There are plenty of healthy, full-of-life animals that need your adoption at shelters.”

She said animal shelters also give a lot of benefits to the owners. Some shelters will provide free spading, and sometimes help pay for medical expenses if the dog comes with any special conditions.

“There are a lot of dogs that have had a bad start, and who is it to say it’s their fault?” Watson said. “You’re giving new life to an animal that deserves it.”

Follow Exsar Arguello on Twitter at @Exsar_Misael.