Animal Shelters are full across the Upper Cumberland as at least three county shelters are at or nearing capacity.
Warren County Animal Control and Adoption Center Director Sherri Bradley said the shelter only has 15 kennels with well over 50 dogs at the center.
“We have been taking in roughly 100 or more animals a month,” Bradley said. “People are just dumping them and having owner surrenders where owners cannot find housing with their animals.”
Bradley said the situation has gotten to the point that the center has created an outdoor area for pets. Bradley said kennels have been set up under pop-up tents with bedding and fans to house animals.
“This year seems to be worse,” Bradley said. “I don’t know if COVID had anything to do with it, but we’ve pretty much doubled what we have been taking in. We have hooked up with some fosters and rescues up north, so as they get room, they are taking animals from us.”
The Cookeville-Putnam County Animal Shelter nears capacity. Director Jennifer Hutchinson-Tracey said several issues seem to be related to the problem, but the main culprit seems to be owners giving up their pets.
“I think people got too comfortable with… the animal shelter will be there,” Hutchinson-Tracey said. “The animal shelter will be the last resort if you can not relocate. We’re here primarily for stray animals, but about half of the dogs we take in are being given up by their owners.”
Hutchinson-Tracey said adoption rates seem to be decreasing at the same time.
“The problem that we are seeing that is new since I have been here is more of a decrease in adult dog adoptions and not as much animals going to rescue,” Hutchinson-Tracey said. “We’re not being able to maintain the balance of what is going out and what is coming in.”
Another issue for Putnam County is that some neighboring communities do not have animal shelters. Hutchinson-Tracey said the shelter sees several out-of-county animals coming in due to that. Hutchinson-Tracey said the situation has been frustrating.