Humane societies see staffing shortages and slowing of adoptions

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(ABC 6 NEWS) – Many businesses are facing the impacts of staffing shortages and are having to find ways to pivot to keep operating and that includes animal shelters.

At the Humane Society of Freeborn County, the impacts are much further than just staffing shortages and it is a similar situation at the Humane Society of North Iowa.

Both are hoping that things start to get back to normal as we finish out 2021.

"We had amazing adoptions during COVID. After COVID? Things are a little different again," said Humane Society of Freeborn County Shelter Manager, Christa DeBoer.

When the pandemic hit, many people found that pandemic pet, but now in 2021, things have changed.

"People started going back to work people are concerned about their financial situation now," said DeBoer.

That’s caused an increase in pets in the shelters as well as delays in spays and neuters.

In Freeborn County, they have around 16 dogs right now and 180 cats between the shelter and foster care.

"We have just been on a constant high all year it seems like," said DeBoer.

Over in north Iowa, they usually only have 70 to 75 cats.

"We are bursting at the seams with cats," said Humane Society of North Iowa Executive Director, Sybil Soukup.

Now they have around 110, but that is not the only issue humane societies are facing.

"People are closing their doors some days shelters are because they don’t have enough staff," said DeBoer.

Freeborn county has kept its doors closed to appointments only for the safety of the workers, animals, and visitors.

That is the case at the Humane Society of North Iowa.

They reopened their doors to walk-ins this summer but recently shut their doors to appointment only.

"This fall we lost some staff that was going back to college and we’ve had a difficult time filling those voids," said Soukup. She added, "We want to welcome the public into our shelter to meet our animals and fall in love with an animal and take them home, but you know we want to make sure we are able to give good service to the visiting public."

Even though they are facing these issues, they are finding ways to get animals into more homes.

In Iowa, they are asking people to adopt two cats if they can.

"Because saving two lives, twice as nice," said Soukup.

And at the Humane Society of Freeborn Count is offering lower fees to help get more into homes so they can help more animals.

"Home for the holidays we are doing cat and kitten adoptions for $25 with an approved application and our dogs are $75," said DeBoer.

They are hoping the future will get better after this tough time.

"There is always going to be too many kittens on the ground, there is always going to be spays and neuters that need to get done, but maybe we will have caught up a little bit," said DeBoer.

"We have had some tough times and we are in one right now, but we always make it through because these we animals we have to! These animals are depending on us," said Soukup.

Both humane societies said they can always use supplies like cat litter and pet food, but also monetary donations to help with vet bills and keep the shelters running.

They said the biggest thing you can do to help right now is take home one of their animals.