Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control stretched with influx of cats, seven horses

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla.-- Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control says its resources are stretched thin. 

The agency is packed with cats, kittens, dogs and puppies needing to be adopted.

Right now, seven neglected horses are getting the care they need after officers rescued them from two separate owners. 

Operations Manager, Captain David Walesky, says caring for livestock is a "severe impact" on the agency.

"I have a staff that I would rather, you know, be helping find animals homes, rather than caring for animals during a court battle.  But you know, that's the world we live in," he explained.

The seven horses are not up for adoption right now.  They are the subject of two different court cases that could take weeks or months to resolve.  Three were seized last week, all considered neglected and underweight.

"The property had a lot of debris in it which is trip hazards for these animals.  And then in addition, they just weren't being fed and cared for properly," he said.

The other four have been on the property since May 20.  They have gained considerable weight and they are considered healthier than when they first arrived. 

Feeding seven horses costs about $3200 in food alone every month. 

"Especially since we're giving them extra, trying to get them back into shape, it's costing us about $800 a week in hay and grain for them," he said.

There is also the cost of electricity to keep them cool, the fencing necessary to contain them, plus extensive and ongoing medical expensive. 

If you want to help provide assistance for food for the horses, call Brenda at 561-233-1251.

It is also a time when the agency is facing what it calls a "dire situation" when it comes to the influx of cats and kittens.  The agency is giving away felines for free during the month of July, but they can't find homes fast enough. 

"Right now, we are very, very overwhelmed with cats and kittens," explained Elizabeth Harthman, who is in charge of Community Outreach.

As the temperature rises, so does the volume of felines.  Thirty percent more cats arrive during summer months than other times of the year.  Only 20 percent of the cats that come to Animal Care and Control leave alive.  They are euthanized by the hundreds every month due to overcrowding.

Much of it, the agency says, is due to the lack of spaying and neutering of animals.  A cat can have two or three litters of kittens in one year, and those populations can quickly multiply once the kittens are at breeding age.

"If you throw that in to a neighborhood setting where everybody is not spaying or neutering that one cat, and that one cat is then having 5 to 7 kittens, those numbers add up really quickly," explained Harthman.

The agency is also stretched in other areas.  Officers are responding to dogs left in hot cars, handling animal cruelty cases, and caring for surrendered dogs, among other duties.

"We are stretched so thin and in so many other areas, that a lot of times the resources that it would be nice to have to be able to host larger scale adoption events or get out into the community, I don't have those because we are so stretched thin elsewhere."

Cats and kittens are free to adopt at Animal Care and Control through the end of July.  Several organizations throughout the area provide free or low-cost spaying and neutering services.  Having animals sterilized is the best long-term solution to the growing problem, the agency says. 

 

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