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Vet Appointment Shortage Leads to Jackson County Animal Shelter Limiting Owner-Surrendered Pets

Miley, a great dane up for adoption at Jackson County Animal Services
Jackson County
Miley, a great dane up for adoption at Jackson County Animal Services

Due to a shortage of available veterinary appointments, the Jackson County Animal Shelter is cutting down on the number of unspayed and unneutered pets they’re able to accept.

Vets in the region are busy trying to catch up after the pandemic put a halt to many routine appointments. This means that there’s a long wait for shelter dogs and cats to be fixed, and they can't be adopted out until they have been.

Kim Casey is with Jackson County Animal Services. She says while some owners are surrendering their animals because they bought pandemic pets that don’t really fit with their lifestyle, others are doing it because of a lack of resources.

“We’ve had people that have contacted us and have surrendered female dogs specifically because they couldn't afford to get them spayed or because they don't have the resources to get appointments and they don't want unwanted litters,” says Casey.

The animals that are being given up are different now than in the past. The shelter is seeing more large, active, young dogs. This is partially contributing to the shelter's inability to get all of the animals spayed and neutered. It is also an issue because these types of dogs do not do well in shelter situations. The shelter is working on expanding their foster system to accommodate these dogs. It is also working on a long term solution to its spay and neuter problem.

“We decided to fundraise and purchase a mobile spay and neuter trailer that could serve as a surgical site on the shelter property for the shelter animals,” says Casey.

The shelter is still accepting all stray animals that are brought in, as well as animals brought in by law enforcement.

Sophia Prince is a reporter and producer for JPR News. She began as JPR’s 2021 summer intern through the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a BA in journalism and international studies.