RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Wake County Animal Center will reopen its doors to pets whose owners can no longer care for them beginning Thursday.
The Center has introduced a new multi-step process for owners to follow, which includes applying and making an appointment to bring in their pet. It will help prevent exceeding the facility's capacity and reduce the risk of needing to euthanize animals.
"Resumption of owner surrenders, by appointment, on a space-available basis is one piece of a multi-pronged approach for dealing with the capacity issues in our community," Wake County Commissioner Vickie Adamson said.
Wake County will increase efforts to educate and inform the public on rehoming options, which means promoting low-cost spay/neuter availability and expanding pet fostering options.
Earlier this month, the Center suspended accepting owner surrenders to avoid operating above capacity. This has been the case for most of the past two years. Often, kennels had to be divided to accommodate twice as many animals, resulting in a crowded adoption floor, negatively affecting dogs' health and safety.
The shelter is built to support a Wake County population of 190,000 residents. It is now at nearly 1.2 million.
Although it has decided to resume applications for owner surrenders, Federico urged the community to consider the Center as a last resort.
"When you adopt an animal, it is a lifetime commitment," she said. "Responsible pet ownership is one of the most important components in addressing our overcapacity issue."
Before applying to surrender a pet, owners are encouraged to:
Once they've exhausted these resources, they may submit an online application to surrender their pet to the Center. You can go here for a more in-depth explanation of how the process works.