RCHS Grapples with Surge in Owner Surrenders

RCHS sees an increase in owner surrenders, leading to full kennels and a waitlist for unwanted community-owned animals.


[Steamboat Springs, CO – March 7, 2024] The Routt County Humane Society (RCHS) is facing a significant challenge as it grapples with a surge in owner surrenders of dogs, mirroring a nationwide trend. Recent data from Shelter Animals Count, a national database of shelter statistics, indicates a startling increase in shelter populations, with nearly a quarter-million more animals finding themselves in shelters in 2023. The reasons for this surge vary, ranging from financial hardships forcing families to relinquish their pets to unchecked behavioral issues. This spike starkly contrasts the pandemic-era surge in pet adoptions observed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As shelters across the country brace for the influx of surrendered animals, RCHS shines a spotlight on one of its long-term residents, Cash. This 6-year-old, 7-month-old female King German Shepherd has been at RCHS for over seven months after being found tied to a tree in the forest. Described as sweet but high-energy, Cash requires a dedicated owner willing to provide her with multiple daily walks. Despite her charm, Cash is not dog-friendly, which has presented a challenge in finding her a suitable forever home. As a long-term resident, Cash has had the opportunity to work one on one with a trainer and has made remarkable progress.

The decrease in adoption rates and surge in owner surrenders has left RCHS with a full kennel and a waiting list of over seven animals that they are currently unable to accommodate. Among these animals are several adult dogs, including Dutch, Jack, and Gomez, who have patiently awaited adoption for months. To encourage adoptions and alleviate the strain on resources, RCHS is offering 50% off adoption fees for all adult dogs for the remainder of March.

RCHS remains committed to its mission to be a community resource that helps animals in need through sheltering, adoption, education, veterinary services, and community outreach. For more information on adopting or supporting RCHS, please visit the shelter at 760 Critter Court or online at www.routthumane.org.

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