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SPCA of East Texas struggling to house large number of rescued animals

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Published: May. 23, 2022 at 12:10 PM CDT|Updated: May. 23, 2022 at 11:16 PM CDT

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - With summertime here and many people taking vacations or leaving for an extended time, the SPCA of East Texas has fewer foster families for their animals.

Last week the non-profit took in 18 puppies, one female dog about to have a litter, two more dogs from a dumping situation, and kittens.

“There’s 22 on property, so we’re down to 19 more that we need to bring in. Half of those are females, so half of those dogs are very likely pregnant. They will have 8 to 10 puppies. These are all large breed dogs so we’re going to have a lot of large breed dogs with no place to go,” said Deborah Dobbs, founder of the SPCA East Texas.

She said they get calls daily for re-homing, surrenders, or dumping situations. Unfortunately, there are many scenarios where they have to turn away help because they are short on manpower, space, or funding.

“The non-profits in town and the rescues are being overwhelmed as well. So what we need to make people understand and get the community to understand and support, is that this is a crisis that there’s a solution for,” Dobbs said. “Maybe I’m oversimplifying but if all these animals are spayed and neutered, we don’t have this problem.”

Kat Cortelyou is the director of operations for the SPCA of East Texas and is helping a lot with animal care right now. She said the dogs and puppies are currently in makeshift kennels until they can find fosters or space for them.

“If we’re able to put them in with a family to learn how to love and how to be a dog and play with toys and interact with people, children, and cats and other dogs that’s always the best option,” Cortelyou said. “If we have to keep them in someplace like this, they’re safe, but they’re not really getting as much love and attention as they could if they were sitting up on the couch watching TV.”

If you have the time and space to foster, the SPCA will help with the rest.

“All you have to do is provide a safe environment for those animals and some love. Maybe teach them how to sit and things like that,” Cortelyou said. “It’s really a win-win for everybody. You get to spend a little time with an animal and not have to be burdened with everything that comes along with it, and in the meantime, we have a safe place for that animal to stay and get some love.”

Another issue the rescues and non-profits face is the health of the dogs once they’re brought in. Cortelyou said the man who had all these dogs dumped on his property did the very best he could to feed them.

“They’re all pretty healthy looking weight wise however, they’re all, so far, carrying such a load of heart worms that it’s just amazing that they’re not sicker than they are. They have every kind of parasite there is but the heart worms are really the bad part. It’s so hard on an animal when you have to treat for that afterwards,” Cortelyou said.

Dobbs said this problem is going to take a community effort to improve. She hopes to start requesting a presence with city and county officials. By doing so, maybe they’d be encouraged to allocate funds for the groups in town because she says it’s not sustainable where they’re at.

“I think we need to understand that the non-profits are out here and we’re doing good work, but I sense that we’re all experiencing this crisis. And we’re all starting to feel overwhelmed, there is a huge level of burnout for people who work in this industry because you can’t help them all and you see a lot of sadness,” Dobbs said.

To apply or learn more about fostering, visit www.spcaeasttx.com/foster

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