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Manatee County Animal Services says it's over capacity due to the pandemic

The agency has seen a drastic increase in surrendered and abandoned pets since October.

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — Manatee County Animal Services says it's seeing more and more people with financial and housing hardships, due to the pandemic, surrendering and abandoning their pets. 

The agency says the pandemic is causing the shelter to fill up.

Since mid-October, MCAS has taken in approximately 30 pets due to surrendering and stray intake. Currently, it has 83 dogs and 76 cats. 

"We're over capacity," Hans Wohlgefahrt said.

Wohlgefahrt is the outreach and events specialist for Manatee County Animal Services. He says their ideal kennel capacity is 70 dogs and 50 cats.

“Stray intake has drastically increased," Wohlgefahrt said. "Young, healthy pets, who appear to be previously taken care of, are coming into the shelter."

Recently, just in one day, MCAS took in 13 dogs. Wohlgefahrt says some are even microchipped but unregistered with an origin date around the lockdown time in the spring. 

"This leads us to assume that some of these pets might have been adopted during that timeframe, but now people can no longer care for or afford them," Wohlgefahrt said.

This is why Manatee County Animal Services is offering programs to help like its free pet food pantry. It can also connect you with other resources to assist financially. 

You have options if you need help caring for your pet. The SPCA Tampa Bay Veterinary Center offers an income-verified discount program for low-income families to help pay for some medical services.

And the Humane Society has some great resources on its website to help you find ways to get pet food and other essentials.

MCAS is desperate to get these animals into loving homes, so for the holiday season, it is encouraging fostering and waiving adoption fees with a donation to Friends of Manatee County Animal Services.

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