Animal shelter overflowing - Tucson News Now

Animal shelter overflowing

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The first big test for the big tent housing more than 100 dogs at Pima Animal Care has come and gone.

When the tent was erected earlier this year, the first question was, "Will it survive the monsoon?"

It's a question which was answered this afternoon. The season's first rain and windstorm moved through the Valley and the tent held up well.

One worker said there was a bit of water but everything was OK.

Some workers stayed in the 60 by 120 foot tent to see how it would hold up.

There were some agitated dogs because of the lightening, but otherwise everything passed with flying colors.

And now comes another big test.

This is the July Fourth weekend when many dogs will be caught after running away from home, frightened by the fireworks.

Even with the overflow in the tent, many shelters inside PACC are still housing three, four or five dogs.

"We're stretched to the max," says Karen Hollish, the development director for the center. "We're currently caring for about 800 animals."

This time of year brings a double whammy as well.

"People are dropping off litters every day," she says.

The center is hoping to reduce the puppy and kitten populations by housing them in foster families until they are old enough to adopt.

"It's not a lifetime obligation," she says. "But if they have a space in the bedroom, they can take care of them for a few weeks."

And now, with the July Fourth holiday, the center has brought in 100 crates and kennels to house the animals they will pick up this weekend, injured, frightened and in need of care.

It happens every year.

"Some of then are run over by cars, get attacked by wild animals or get in fights with other dogs," says Hollish.

That's why the center will have its emergency room manned the entire weekend.

It's a small space where vet Jennifer Wilcox and her staff work to fix the animals who are brought in injured or sick.

"This is the summer season, so we are at capacity," says Wilcox. "100 dogs are expected to roll in tomorrow."

There are some basic rules which may save a dog from running away.

Keep them indoors during the fireworks.

If the dog is home alone, turn on the television or radio to a soothing station.

Make sure the animal has identification, even using a pen to write the name and phone number on the collar.

Don't take pets to the fireworks show.

If they're crate trained, keep them in the crate or kennel during the fireworks shows.

"We are the communities only open shelter which means we are the only shelter that doesn't turn away any pet in need," Hollish says.

But that has come with a cost: overcrowded kennels.

"If you were ever thinking about adopting a pet, now would be the time," she says.

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