All Kennels Full, Help is Needed
For most of the year, the Humane Society of Harford County (HSHC) has been waging a battle, trying desperately to make space and keep kennels open for new dogs coming into the shelter in Fallston, MD. And now, after taking in 46 dogs since the beginning of October, all 65 kennels inside the facility are occupied, and officials worry where they are going to put the next new arrival.
“Our team is very good at moving animals through the shelter,” Bob Citrullo, executive director says. “Whether networking with other shelters and rescue groups who can take a dog or two, to quickly locating owners to reclaim lost dogs, to posting to social media and even letting adopters pick their own adoption fee, it all helps to find placement for the dogs. But we have this one building in which to house dogs, and the constant influx is catching up with us.”
Citrullo says that the space crisis felt in Harford County is being felt at shelters and rescues all across the country. “The current economic climate is tough. People are tightening their budgets and adopting a new pet is not part of the plan.”
Furthermore, legal cases involving Animal Control are taking a toll. When a dog becomes part of a pending court case, whether for cruelty allegations, ownership issues or dangerous dog contentions, the shelter is under contract with Harford County to treat and hold the animal, pending the decision of the court. This process can take months, and in one current case, almost two years.
There are several ways to make a difference right now. Visit the shelter at 2208 Connolly Road in Fallston or browse the listing of pets at harfordshelter.org and consider adopting. The shelter is open Monday-Friday from 11-6, Saturdays from 10-5, and Sundays from 12-4. During the month of October adopters can pick their own adoption price.
If adoption is not an option, become a foster parent for HSHC and give a homeless dog a temporary place to live for a few weeks until space is available again. Foster parents provide love and care as well as valuable information about how the pet behaves in a home setting while HSHC can provide supplies and medical care. Visit www.harfordshelter.org/ways-to-give/foster-a-pet to read more about the program and apply to become a registered foster parent.
Other ways to make a difference include contacting your veterinarian or visiting the shelter to microchip your pet and ensure that the chip is registered correctly with your current phone number. If your pet becomes lost and ends up at the shelter, this will ensure your pet is only at the shelter a few hours, as opposed to a few days or weeks.
“If you need to bring your pet to the shelter because you can’t afford to feed him, talk to us first,” Citrullo said. “We have a pet food pantry. If you need help correcting an undesirable behavior, our partner trainer, Mutt Magic Training, offers free consultations. Our adoptions counselors can offer resources to help with other situations, so please talk to us before making your decision. Oftentimes, the best place for your dog is at home with you.”
About the Humane Society of Harford County
The Humane Society of Harford County, Inc., is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to the welfare and well-being of the approximately 2,500 animals that arrive each year. HSHC promotes the kind treatment of homeless, stray and abandoned animals by providing shelter, care, adoptions, and community education. HSHC is not a county agency nor is it affiliated with any national or regional organization. Tax-deductible donations, bequests, and proceeds from events are crucial to its life-saving efforts on behalf of the animals in the community.