PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. – Blu Tailor was looking for a dog on Thursday.
“But the dog we saw is just here, so we have to wait five days,” she said. “But he was so cute, a 3-month-old puppy.”
Tailor adopted her first animal from a humane society in Michigan. She said the facility was bursting at the seams, and now that she’s in Florida and the Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control has overcapacity.
“I think it’s just because of economic issues and things like that, it just depends on what’s going on,” she said.
A tough reality faced by so many animal shelters, inflation is causing more people to turn in animals.
“So this was an owner surrender. Someone brought it in. It’s 12 weeks old, it’s a spayed female,” said Jan Steele, the director of Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control.
Every day the shelter tries to be under capacity while handling an influx of animals.
Steele said “below capacity” is not possible at this point.
“Our max for cats is 130, our max for dogs is 144,” she said. “We are currently over 190 cats and over 190 dogs.”
Steele said normally other shelters would help, but those facilities are dealing with an increase in animals due to Hurricane Ian.
“Then the local people here who are being crushed economically. They don’t have enough money to stay where they are and have to downsize or their landlord says no, we’re going to raise the rent if you stay here,” she said. “Unfortunately, even though they are part of the family, the animals have to be given up.”
Steele estimates that instead of five to six pets on most days, 15 to 20 pets are turned in.