Busy Weekend For SF Area Humane Society

In the span of 48 hours, the shelter had 70 owner surrenders and a handful of strays walk in
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – It’s been a busy weekend for workers at the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society. In a two day span, from Friday to Saturday, 85 animals walked in through their doors. Seventy of which were surrendered by their owner, leaving workers scrambling for space.

“We’ve had to move our small animals out of our small animals room to make room for cats,” says Kennel Manager Laverne Aventi. That’s not just a couple cats, Aventi says, “we have 144 healthy available cats right now.”

Aventi and staff are doing the best they can to accommodate the influx of animals.

“Some days we can come in and there’s only one or two, other days we can come in and it’s completely full,” says Aventi.

While the shelter is open admission, meaning they take in every animal that is brought to them, Aventi says it’s frustrating when the numbers are as high as they are right now.

“I think it would be silly to say that it’s not,” she explains. “You see a lot of animals in a lot of different conditions. Some come in with really severe medical problems.”

“This place is up to their eyeballs in kittens and I felt so bad, so I signed up to be a foster parent,” says Sarah Anderson. “To me, a pet is like a child, you don’t get rid of a child.”

The shelter says fostering animals, like Anderson is doing, helps in these types of situations.

“It saves lives, they do so much better in a home,” says Aventi.

But the main solution is spay and neutering pets.

“We’ve had people call and not realize that’s why they kept having so many cats,” says Aventi. “They say ‘we only started with 2 or 3 and now we have 16’.”

She says the majority of owner-surrendered animals come from unexpected litters. This, and knowing what is expected as a pet owner, can keep the furry friends from calling the shelter home.

“You see the look in their eyes, especially when an animal has been returned and it’s heartbreaking,” says Aventi. “They come back here and it’s depressing for them. So it’s hard for us to see.”

If a pet owner is thinking of surrendering their animal, the shelter is asking to call them before, so they can plan ahead and make room. The phone number is (605)-338-4441. The shelter is also looking for extra volunteers, donations and fosters to help with the increase in animals.

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