It’s always a priority at the St. Joseph Bay Humane Society to see the animals in their care placed in warm homes, especially around the holidays.
But with winter weather quickly approaching, shelter workers say it has become an emergency.
The shelter is exceeding their current capacity for indoor runs by almost 30 spots, and while they have outdoor quarantine kennels that can accommodate the overflow, when temperatures dip below freezing, this is simply not an option.
“We have plenty of blankets and stuff like that. We’ve had quite a bit donated recently. So really, we just need people to take some animals,” said a shelter spokesperson on the phone.
“Our outside quarantine is pretty full right now. Last week, when we had those two cold days, we just put pop-up kennels inside, in the hallways, in the kitchen, and we just brought them in. We even had some in our garage, just for the cold nights.”
Bringing the dogs inside again next week is an option, shelter workers said, but it’s not ideal. While it is safest for the dogs to bring them indoors during freezing weather, shelter workers explained that long hours in small dog crates can make pets feel uncomfortable, frightened or restless.
The shelter took to Facebook to ask members of the community to consider providing a temporary home for an animal over the holiday weekend, which they consider a much more preferable solution.
“We are overflowing and dogs are living in our outside holding area. It is cold folks and concrete floors don’t warm so easily,” the post read. “… We desperately need fosters so we can get some of these dogs into warm places through this weather.”
Low temperatures are expected to be around 21 degrees fahrenheit on Saturday and 23 degrees on Christmas day, about 20 degrees colder than the area’s average low for December.
Plus, rainy conditions ahead of the cold front mean ice formation is likely.
The shelter is at more than double its current indoor capacity.
They currently have 22 indoor dog runs, all of which are taken. And while it can be difficult to get an exact number of pets in the shelter’s care with the number that continue to be brought in, the Humane Society estimates around 31 dogs are currently having to sleep in crates around the office or in outdoor quarantine runs.
The shelter provides for the food, supplies and medical costs of foster animals. All of the animals available to foster are up to date on their vaccinations.
For more information about fostering animals, visit the Humane Society’s website at https://www.sjbhumanesociety.org/ or call the shelter at 850-227-1103.
For those who cannot foster, the shelter is accepting donations of dog toys for their annual holiday celebration, in which they allow each dog at the shelter to select a toy on Christmas morning. Donations can be brought to the shelter any time during their normal business hours up until Christmas Eve.