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Inflation, lack of affordable housing contribute to Spokane animal shelters reaching max capacity

SpokAnimal said they have not seen an influx of adoptable animals in years. However, Spokane community members are stepping up to ease the shelter's capacity.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane shelters like SpokAnimal need help getting their animals into forever homes.

Animal shelters in Spokane are currently at max capacity and have been for months. Part of the reason shelters are seeing an influx of animals is the lack of affordable housing in the region.

One of the reasons people are surrendering animals is that people realize dogs can be difficult to move with. Additionally, many affordable housing units in the area have breed restrictions or do not allow pets at all.

“We’re seeing large dogs surrendered because people can’t take them to move in with family and friends or to other parts of the country," said Dori Peck, the executive director at SpokAnimal. "It’s really hard to travel with the large dogs, so we’re seeing a large influx of large [dogs]."

SpokAnimal said they have not seen an influx of adoptable animals in years. However, Spokane community members are stepping up to ease the shelter's capacity.

"It's hard to watch, to see dogs trapped up in a cage," said Wade Wessels, who went to the shelter as soon as he heard it was overwhelmed with dogs. "It's just not natural."

A spokesperson for SpokAnimal told KREM 2 that another reason dogs are being put up for adoption is that people can no longer move with their animals into affordable living situations. Peck added the shelter really needs help finding forever homes for all of the animals. 

“We’re doing quite a few adoptions," she said. "We have some great, amazing dogs. It’s just taking them a little longer to get adopted and we’re really having to show them a lot more, go into the community, be very very visible with them. it’s just a little harder right now."

At SpokAnimal, smaller animals and cats are adopted much faster than large animals. Peck said this is because large animals require greater care.

"I saw that SpokAnimal was full, they didn’t have any more room," said Gavin Allen, who adopted a dog on Tuesday. "That made me feel really bad because obviously these cats and dogs need new homes."

SpokAnimal is one of several animal shelters that provides spay and neutering surgery to animals that need them.

If you want your own animal, you can call SpokAnimal to schedule an appointment. They are also encouraging fostering if you can’t adopt one and are accepting animal food donations.

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