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'It crushes us' | Humane Society of Southeast Texas beyond maximum capacity due to influx of surrendered animals

The Humane Society can take in 48 animals at maximum capacity. Currently, the shelter has 160 animals.

BEAUMONT, Texas — Animal shelters in Beaumont are reaching out to the Southeast Texas community because they have surpassed maximum capacity amid an animal overflow.

This is an issue shelters have dealt with before. However, animal experts said it has gotten worse and they need help, “now more than ever.”

Taylor Westphal works at the Humane Society of Southeast Texas.

According to Westphal, the summertime usually brings an influx of surrendered animals. However, the most recent increase has the rescue overflowing.

The Humane Society can take in 48 animals at maximum capacity. The shelter is at more than three times its normal capacity right now.

"We have 30 kennels, and then in our cat room adoption that we're currently in, we have 18,” Westphal said. “So that's 48 cats and dogs, plus our two colonies. We currently have, in our care, 160 animals."

At times, the Humane Society of Southeast Texas has had to house animals in bathrooms and makeshift kennels.

"We were kind of having to store cats in bathrooms,” Westphal said. “Dogs in kennels that aren't designed to really be kennels."

Westphal said the overpopulation of stray dogs and cats is not surprising for this time of the year.

"It's warming up, you know, everybody's out and about,” Westphal said. “Maybe you're not at the house and you put your dog outside, and he gets loose or just the fact that everybody's moving around, it's not cold, stretching the legs and then meeting another cat, another dog, boom, a litter's made."

Beaumont Animal Care, like the Humane Society, is over its capacity of cats and dogs. Both shelters are asking the community for help by either adopting an animal or temporarily fostering one. 

Westphal believes another way the community can help is by spaying or neutering their pets. Westphal feels this will help cut down on the high number of strays in Southeast Texas.

Non-profit shelters such as the Humane Society have relied on larger shelters in cities such as Houston that are funded by a city or the state of Texas to take in their extra animals

“We try to all band together and get transports up north, but those things take time, resources and money,” Westphal said. “A lot of things that a nonprofit doesn't have." 

The Humane Society had 26 adoptions during National Pet Adoption week. The shelter will offer a low-cost spay and neuter program beginning at the end of August through the beginning of September.

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