Columbia animal shelter receives fewer dogs and cats in busy season

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COLUMBIA - Spring is usually the busiest season in animal shelters in Columbia, but the latest data showed animal intakes this May dropped significantly in one local animal shelter.

The Central Missouri Humane Society took in 253 animals including dogs, cats and small animals in May, which is a more than 20 percent drop from the same time last year.

Michelle Casey, the assistant director of Central Missouri Humane Society, said the decline is on par with the national trend.

"Over the past year animal intakes have been declining for many organizations in the country," Casey said.

The animal shelter is usually busier in spring because it's breeding season and it's when a lot of people move out of town and leave animals behind.

"We were at capacity pretty much all the time. We saw a slight decrease in winter when it's colder out. But the summer and spring we were very, very busy. We were almost always at capacity," Casey said.

However, in the busy season this year, one fourth of the dog kennels are empty.

"I think spay and neuter is really helping the community. We've seen a significant decrease in litters of kittens and puppies coming up. Also we really work hard to create safety net programs to keep people from relinquishing their dogs," Casey said.

The safety net program is a new community outreach project that the animal shelter is creating to help low-income and under-serviced members in the community to get affordable animal care.

Casey said it's good thing to have fewer animal intakes at the shelter.

"So we've seen over the past year or so every month our intake has gone down slightly, so it's a trend that continued. It hasn't been just one month or another month we see it drop. We see a steady decrease in intakes coming in, and that helps increase our life relief rate and decrease our euthanasia rate," she said.

The shelter is opening its low-cost spay and neuter services to everyone throughout the summer this year.

It is expected to fully launch the safety net program in the next couple of months.

KOMU 8 reached out to Second Chance for its animal intakes. But since Second Chance is not an open intake shelter, its intakes numbers won't reflect trends.