LOUISVILLE, Ohio — Fallout from the pandemic is pushing the pet population to the limit at the Stark County Humane Society.
According to Executive Director Jackie Godbey, there are nearly 50 dogs and almost 100 cats ready for adoption. That's about double the number of animals typically housed in the facility in Louisville.
"The COVID pandemic was hard on all of us. We've had a heck of a year, so I think we should all pull together and try to help these pets that are now homeless," Godbey said. "Help us keep them happy and healthy and adopt."
Many of the cages are full of cats of different colors throughout the building and some have been placed in the front lobby because of the overpopulation issue.
In addition, an area usually used as an adoption room has been temporarily transformed into an isolation room to hold cats until they're fixed and ready for adoption.
Godbey said many owners have been surrendering pets they got during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the large increase at the Humane Society.
"A lot of people that are going back to work now—that worked from home—don't realize that a 6-month-old or a 1-year-old dog is going to chew or bark and cry if you have to crate train them. A lot of them are now showing signs of separation anxiety," Godbey said.
Others are finding they can't afford their pets because they're struggling to pay rent or possibly facing eviction.
"People that have not got called back to work or are unable to go back to work are now losing their homes or their properties and the animals are coming in for evictions or foreclosures," Godbey added.
All of the dogs and cats that are available for adoption have been vaccinated, microchipped and spayed or neutered. The cost to adopt ranges between $60 and $100.
The Stark County Humane Society is open to the public 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. It's closed on Wednesday.
Anyone seeking information about the animals should call 330-453-5529 or click here.