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Tallahassee Animal Service Center facing volunteer shortage, influx of animals

Tallahassee Animal Service Center facing volunteer shortage, influx of animals
Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 11:17 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Tallahassee Animal Service Center has a full house with half the staff at the moment.

The shelter said it is feeling the effects of COVID-19, not only being at maximum capacity and caring for more than 180 animals, but also working with less than half the volunteers it normally does.

WCTV’s Katie Kaplan visited the shelter Wednesday and learned how the community can help.

A shelter representative told WCTV that summer is normally a busy time of year, but right now, the situation is exacerbated after spaying and neutering slowed during the pandemic and volunteers dropped off.

“We need help in all sorts of areas,” said Assistant Director Michael St. John. “Hopefully we’re going to get through this smoothly like we do all the time. We’re reaching out to other rescue groups, other locations. We have a robust transport program going.”

St. John said Wednesday’s inventory showed 186 animals, including cats, dogs and even bunnies.

The shelter is in desperate need of volunteers, and volunteer Colleen Fahey said, “We sure could use more volunteers here.”

Only 130 of their normal 280 helpers returned post-pandemic.

“Lots of times the kennel is so full, like it is now,” said Level II dog walker Phil Street. “It’s very difficult to get all the dogs out, so they may spend a day or two in their kennel.”

Many of the volunteers foster some of the overflow.

“There are 10 cats at my house right now,” said cat volunteer Lynn Miller.

Zharion Johnson, who adopted a cat Wednesday, said, “I felt like we had a connection, so that’s the one we’re getting.”

So ,whether you’re looking for a friend like Johnson is, or just have some extra time on your hands like 13-year-old Fahey, “Do whatever is needed. Clean cages, sweep, scrub, scoop. I think the “funnest” part is walking the dogs.”

The shelter invites you to visit their website by clicking here and make a difference in the lives of a furry companion.

Anyone interested in adopting needs to make an appointment to visit the shelter online first, which they can do by calling 850-891-2950.

If you can’t adopt or volunteer your time, you can donate to the shelter via Amazon, where they already have a wish list set up.

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