BUTLER — The DeKalb Animal Shelter is bursting at the seams.

With 140 cats and about 20 dogs available for adoption, the facility is currently at capacity.

“When COVID was going on, adoptions ramped,” shelter director Kelly Collins-Ross said. “Everybody wanted a pet.”

People would go and adopt dogs and cats wherever they wanted to adopt, and then they found out they have to go back to work, and then it’s a nuisance, she added.

“Unfortunately we are on a waiting list,” said manager Reagan Burch of accepting more pets.

“I guess (people) thought they were going to stay home forever, but I guess, eventually, we are all going to go back to work. Now, they are just dropping them off like crazy,” Collins-Ross said.

“Honestly, we get a lot of dropoffs at night or after hours,” she added. “This little dog, Sunday night, it was just running around the shelter. (The owners) didn’t even bother to put him in a cage.”

This small dog, named Pastrami by the staff, was left on the grounds with dangerous traffic on U.S. 6 just a short distance away.

The DeKalb Animal Shelter is committed to being a no-kill shelter. Even though the facility is full, they do not transfer animals to other shelters.

“I want to know what happens to them,” Collins-Ross said. “It’s emotional, definitely.”

Most dogs average stay is about 30 days, she added.

The situation is not unique to DeKalb County. Currently, Noble County has 40 dogs. Steuben County also has several dogs but has a larger facility to house them, she added.

Nine staff members stay busy keeping the local shelter clean.

“Every day, we come here we strip and change all the bedding. Everything gets sprayed down with cleansing chemicals that kills everything. Everything is wiped down and the floors are mopped,” Burch said.

Naming all the cats and dogs is also important to them.

At one time, they used a baby book of names. Now, they Google ideas for names or decide to perhaps have a theme day, such as characters from Charlie’s Angels, including Jill, Sabrina, Kelly and Bosley.

Volunteers are always welcome by stopping by the shelter and signing a liability form. After that, people can work for an hour, all day, even on Sundays.

Due to COVID restrictions, adoptions are currently made by appointment only.

While a new building is under construction southwest of Auburn, the shelter is currently at 5221 U.S. 6, Butler. People can call 868-2409 or visit the website at dekalbhumanesociety.org for more information or to view pets available for adoption.

Plans are to move to the new facility in the spring once water hook-up is run from Auburn to the site at C.R. 11-A, Collins-Ross said.

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