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Chattanooga animal shelter struggles to find pets new homes

Morgan Jones plays with some of the kittens. (Image: WTVC)
Morgan Jones plays with some of the kittens. (Image: WTVC)
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McKamey Animal Center in Chattanooga is having issues finding homes for its many furry friends.

"We've saturated the market for homes that are available to take in either adopted pets or fostered pets," says McKamey Executive Director Inga Fricke.

The shelter announced on Friday that it is at max capacity and will not be able to accept animals on a non-emergency basis.

At the start of the pandemic, shelters like McKamey were concerned by the amount of families adopting pets. They worried families would want to return their animals due to impulse buying.

That didn't happen, however, but now that so many houses already have animals, McKamey is struggling to find folks that are in need of pets.

"We have pets coming in, but not moving out of our shelters," Fricke says.

Fricke says there are some regions of the country that would actually help the shelter out and take some of their animals, but they're experiencing the same phenomenon.

One of the parts of the shelter that is seeing the biggest problems is the kennel.

"One of the biggest problems we’re facing is a steady onslaught of dogs coming in," says Animal Care Director Suzanne D'Alonzo.

The kennel is full of dogs anxiously barking and waiting to find new homes. The lack of volunteers doesn't make things easier.

"We have a lot of dogs and not a lot of volunteers," D'Alonzo said.

With the shelter at full capacity, it raises some concerns about putting animals down.

Fricke, however, says that euthanizing animals will be the absolute last resort and the shelter is pleading with the community to adopt pets.

"We are really trying hard not to do that," Fricke says.

When McKamey announced it was at full capacity, it prompted some folks to come out and look at the animals.

"This is Taco," Morgan Jones said as she cuddled with what would soon be her new furry friend.

Jones said she was in town and figured she would just stop by... but that very quickly changed.

"OK I want her," Jones said after spending some time with Taco.

Jones got the an email with the news about the shelter.

"They need people to come in and adopt and I said 'I’m not gonna wait,'" Jones said.

"If you do have room for an animal," Fricke pleaded to the community. "We would be incredibly, incredibly grateful."

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To see McKamey's full list of hours and how to adopt a pet, you can check out their website here.

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