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Warrick Humane Society Experiencing ‘Worst’ Crowding vs Adoptions in Recent History

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Tim Jagielo
Warrick Humane Society Assistant Director Kim Henning stands in the puppy room on Monday. The shelter, like many local shelters, are at capacity for cats and dogs.

Dec. 8 marks beginning of ‘12 Days of Christmas’ with a different incentive every day — adoption fees and retail included

The Warrick Humane Society in Ohio Township can only take more cats and dogs, if some are adopted out.

In November, there were 50 surrender request forms the humane society couldn’t accommodate.

“That's like five to six times our normal amount that we receive,” said Assistant Director Kim Henning. She said they don’t know why this is happening, but she said adoptions have slowed to "a trickle" and those trying to relinquish their pets have increased.

“I've been here for 12 years, and this is the worst that I've ever seen it,” said Director Lyndsey Hagedorn. “We've always been able to help other shelters in need — animal control facilities that may have to euthanize for space. But recently we've had to tell them ‘no,’ a lot.”

She said they have have 26 large dog kennels and 11 in their puppy room. "So those could be small dogs or multiple puppies," Hagedorn said. "And then we also have four small dog kennels and our main kennel area."

She says “moving” is the main reason families report when trying to re-home their pets.

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Tim Jagielo
This litter of puppies is currently housed at the Warrick Humane Society.

An annual holiday program might help ease the strain.

The shelter is rolling out their "12 days of Christmas" program on December 8. It’s designed to encourage adoptions amid unprecedented numbers of cats and dogs housed at the shelter and with foster families.

“The days leading up to Christmas, we are offering different specials on each day that we’re open to the public,” Henning said. “So the specials range anything from adoption discounts to retail discounts to free gift cards.”

“Some days, we may have 20 percent off the adoption fee, some days, maybe 30-percent off. Some specials, maybe on what we call ‘long-term resident’ dogs who have been here for more than 30 days. So it just varies by day.”

Of course prospective families are counseled in the responsibilities and challenges of owning a dog. Adoptive families are also given resources for training.

“We talk to people and always make sure that the parents are on-board,” she said. “You know, don't expect your 12 year old to take care of the pet.”

Henning says they don’t actually see "Christmas" puppies or dogs returned that often — usually it’s actually long-term homes and the families are moving and can’t take an animal with them.

Henning said above all, they want to keep pets in their current homes.

“There are resources for that. We're happy to share names of trainers, names of doggy daycares. Anything that we can do to answer questions for people to try to keep their pets and not surrender their pets.”

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Tim Jagielo
The Warrick Humane Society will only house 10 cats in their open cat room, and will not accept more until some are adopted out.