Wake County Animal Shelter changes surrender rule for dogs

Jamiese Price Image
Wednesday, January 3, 2024
Overcrowding leads to policy change at Wake County Center
The Wake County Animal Center is changing its policies after shelters and centers began to overcrowd with surrendered pets.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Alecee Duffy recently moved to Raleigh from Chicago and she didn't come alone. She brought with her two dogs Jameson and Whiskey who made the housing hunt challenging.

"Every single time I had to compare the pet deposit and the pet rent because there's a hefty pet deposit," Duffy explained. "Every place is different, and the pet rent is per month per dog, and every apartment complex has different breed restrictions," she continued.

All the restrictions narrowed down her search quickly. "I was fortunate enough to be able to find a place, but it was hard," she said.

But everyone isn't as fortunate. Wake County Animal Services Director Dr. Jennifer Federico explained what she's seeing and what's contributing to new policy changes at the shelter. "I cannot tell you how many people have moved from California, Illinois everywhere, and then they can't find a place to rent. Because they can't keep their pets. So that's really frustrating,"

It's also adding to the shelter overcrowding crisis. Federico said nearly 20% of the shelter's population are from owner surrenders and now the shelter will no longer accept those dogs unless they were adopted from them. "If we just kept the floodgates open, and didn't push back, it wouldn't be fair to the animals that are coming in that are truly the strays that are the ones that we're saving from cruelty cases that we have to legally hold."

Dr. Federico said it's time other agencies step up to help lighten the shelter's load.

"If you adopt your pet from us, if you choose us as your adoption location, and you can't keep your pet, you can bring them back to us. And the reason we're doing this is it has become quite often, where a lot of our owner surrenders were actually adopted from other local rescues. And they wouldn't step up to take their own animals back that they adopted out," Federico explained.

Dr. Federico said the problem also comes down to a growing community with not enough room to house the animals that need their help. "Our facility was built for a population of I believe, 190,000 people, we have a million. There's just not enough room at the inn right now," continued Federico.

The new policy takes effect immediately. The animal center is providing resources to help pet owners work to rehome their dogs. You can find more information here.