The summer season is a hard time for pets living in south Texas as the number of animals exceed the maximum capacity for local animal shelters.
The San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter is among the local shelters struggling with overpopulation.
Kara Montiel, animal services manager, said the shelter typically houses between 100 and 250 animals throughout the year but the number rises during the summer and spring due to litters.
“Summer is very busy along with spring, and yes, we are usually very full during those times. It is more common to have some empty kennels in the winter since other organizations tend to come take our animals for adoption programs,” Montiel said. “We will sometimes see a fluctuation within 100 animals or so, month to month.”
The city ordinance allows shelters in San Marcos to hold stray animals for three days to give owners the opportunity to find and reclaim them. If the animal has traceable identification, such as tags or a microchip, the owner gets five days to reclaim them.
Animals that are surrendered by owners become city property, and they are able to be adopted out, transferred to rescue or euthanized immediately. In times of overpopulation, the animals abandoned by owners are at higher risk of euthanasia, said Montiel.
“It is a very disappointing time of the year when we ask owners to reconsider leaving their animals here because we are full, and they sign them over with a euthanasia request anyway,” Montiel said.
Overpopulated animal shelters can be a common problem throughout Texas.
Due to a demographic culture, a large part of the southern U.S. faces the problem of irresponsible breeding, said Montiel. Some do not see the importance of spaying and neutering cats and dogs.
Stray animals are commonly spotted in parking lots, road sides and neighborhoods.
“Being a responsible pet owner stretches beyond the wall of your own home or property,” Montiel said.
The fundamental necessities as a dog owner is to consider the possible outcomes and prepare for certain situations before they happen. Montiel said it is the law to keep pets restrained in public and on property, and if pet escapes, check local shelters immediately.
“Be mindful and respectful of your neighbors and community by taking the necessary means to prevent animals from escaping, being a nuisance or disruptive to others,” Montiel said. “We all know our animals to be a wonderful part of the family. What some owners do not realize or think about is that they are animals and have natural behavior and reactions to their environment.”