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Area animal shelters battle staffing shortages; influx of animals

Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 4:40 PM EDT
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BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Some animal shelters in the Roanoke Valley have been dealing with a two-fold challenge.

“There are generally challenges this time of the year, but this is a little extreme,” says Stacy Epperson, President of the Friends of Bedford County Animal Shelter group.

Between an overflow of animals and limited staffing, some animal shelters have their paws full.

“A lot of the facilities are not able to take in new animals due to staffing,” she explains. “So we’re not able to send as many to rescue as generally we would.”

Some of these shelters have had to close, switching to appointment-only operations while they manage staffing. Epperson did say that the Bedford County Animal Shelter has made progress in alleviating its staffing concerns.

Much like it has with many other industries, COVID may also factor in to the spike in incoming animals to the facility.

“With COVID, so many people have adopted animals because they were home during this time and a lot are going back to work and unfortunately, we see some animals coming back in,” she adds.

According to Epperson, the shelter can hold about 20 dogs at a time.

“Unfortunately, even though the shelter is full, they still have to intake animals because it is a county-run facility. With that said, difficult decisions could have to be made.”

She continues to say the Bedford County Animal Shelter has not had to euthanize any dogs due to space in more than five years. Epperson also says some animals are being boarded because there is no room at the shelter. Through social media and adoption events, staff is working to find these fur balls their forever homes.

“Because the shelter has been closed, there has been little opportunity for folks to come out and see animals. So our rescue is going to have some of the adoptable pets at the Tractor Supply in Bedford.”

That pop-up adoption event till take place Friday, October 1 from 4-7 p.m. Epperson says there should be around 10 animals there including dogs and cats, kittens included.

“That way, folks get a chance to just come out and see what’s available instead of having to make an appointment for a specific animal.”

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