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Animal shelters in Utah and nationwide face a crisis of overcapacity

A white pit bull-like dog stands in a kennel at a shelter
Greg Allen

Animal shelters across Utah are struggling to maintain a workable capacity even after efforts to raise adoption rates. Ahead of the new year, shelters offered reduced adoption fees and fostering perks to encourage potential adopters and implemented proactive programs like playgroups to get more visibility for the shelter and its animals.

Even with these efforts, however, intake of animals is still outpacing adoption rates, and shelters across the state are over capacity. According to Michelle Dossin, Executive Director of Best Friends Animal Society, this crisis has been looming for the last year or so not just in Utah but across the nation. The situation is even worse in the southern US, where a lack of true winter causes different breeding cycles that are harder to keep up with.

Dossin encourages people who find supposedly stray animals to try to reunite them with an owner before taking them to a shelter, as many are simply lost pets. She recommends posting on social media, apps like NextDoor or lost and found pet groups on Facebook, which are prevalent throughout Utah.

Duck is a general reporter and weekend announcer at UPR, and is studying broadcast journalism and disability studies at USU. They grew up in northern Colorado before moving to Logan in 2018, so the Rocky Mountain life is all they know. Free time is generally spent with their dog, Monty, listening to podcasts, reading or wishing they could be outside more.