Pet shelters overflowing, euthanasia being considered

The old saying that more is better does not apply to hundreds of thousands of dogs, cats and other pets in shelters, waiting for permanent homes that may never come. 

An overloaded shelter in the East Bay is where there’s never been a better or cheaper way to select from a huge array of potential pals.

President Harry Truman once said, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog." That's probably good advice for anybody, anywhere. And right now, There's a bumper crop waiting to be adopted.

Alonzo, the shelter English Bulldog is about the become Kai, the just-adopted companion of Diandre X's family. 

"When you come here, you see these animals are just as loving and kind, and they want a home and so, if you have the space, why not?" said Diandre.

The Contra Costa County Animal Service Department says it chooses to say yes to saving potential pets wherever possible, not euthanizing them. But, the shelter's Steve Burdo says that may become impossible if its current overcrowding situation is not soon relieved.

"On average, we bring in about 20 animals a day," said Burdo. 

That's 600 news tenants a month from owner surrenders, abandoned pets, pets of deceased owners, strays and ferals.

With rent moratoriums mostly gone, many folks are on the street with their pets or desperately looking for cheaper quarters. Many landlords either forbid pets or limit their breeds or sizes. 


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Add in inflation, upping costs for keeping and feeding pets, plus skyrocketing veterinary services, also drives lots of surrenders. 

"Those three things together are really creating a perfect storm of why every shelter in the Bay Area is overcrowded," said Burdo. "What are shelters are full of right now are lots and lots of beautiful large breed dogs that are just staying. A lot of puppies are being surrendered, and they're not being adopted as quickly as they used to be," said Jill Tucke of the California Animal Welfare Association.

Lisa Solise sees that as a huge loss for potential pet lovers. 

"This is my second dog that I have adopted and my first one I adopted died two years ago, but it lived 20 years," said Solise. 

"With the free adoption, you're gonna get a spay/neuter surgery, a vaccination, microchip, and most of all, you're going to be bringing that new family member into your home," said Burdo.

The Contra Costa adoption center will have adoption on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and then again on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.