ORLANDO, Florida. – Orange County Animal Services (OCAS) currently has over 700 animals in its care, including 383 physically at the shelter and an additional 319 in foster care. On Thursday alone, the shelter received 114 animals, 40 of which were confiscated due to concerns about poor living conditions, shelter officials said.
Bryant Almedia of Orange County Animal Services told FOX 35 News there has been a massive increase in owner transfers. He said 90% of the nearly 400 animals at the shelter have been abandoned by their owners. Many people have told shelter volunteers that they have to move from a house to an apartment that does not allow pets or large dogs. Or, they can’t afford the pet fees and rent that some apartment complexes charge, especially with the rising cost of rent and housing.
“It’s heartbreaking. A lot of these people don’t want to return these animals,” Almedia said. “We get it. Everyone’s been hit pretty hard, gas prices – everyone’s affected in different ways. It ripples through, and unfortunately it’s the animals that suffer.”
In response to the high volume of animals cared for by the shelter, Animal Services is urgently asking for community support in several ways:
- Residents who have found stray animals are encouraged to take steps to reunite them with the owner before bringing them to the shelter.
- Animal Services also encourages owners who are about to return their pet to explore all options before resorting to the shelter.
- In order to help the animals currently housed at the shelter, Animal Services is urgently requesting adoption and foster care support.
Adoption fees for dogs and cats are currently reduced to $25. Those interested in adopting are encouraged to view the pets available on the shelter website here. More information on the adoption process can be found here. In addition, the shelter is actively recruiting new members for its foster care program.