The increase in pets abandoned by their owners is putting a strain on animal rescue and grooming services

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SAN ANTONIOAnimal Care Services and local emergency services have too many dogs and not enough space, putting them in a difficult position.

Julianne Marchbanks, Founder and President of God’s Dogs Rescue said, “We’re at the limit.”

“We’re seeing needs like we’ve never seen before,” said Debbie Davis, operations director for the rescue.

The kennels at the God’s Dogs Rescue home base are full. Unfortunately, her foster parents have no place either.

“We have over 500 dogs at our rescue,” Davis said.

Rescuers said they had never seen anything like it before. They say owners are abandoning their dogs at an exponential rate.

“I mean, we get 25, 30 emails a day asking us to adopt their dogs,” Davis said.

“It’s heartbreaking. And we really want to help. We want to help so badly,” Marchbanks added.

Rescuers aren’t the only ones feeling these effects. The same is happening at Animal Care Services.

“We are seeing a fairly high rate of ownership handovers. Requests have typically been booked for about a month, and now we’re booked for three and four months,” said Bethany Colonnese, ACS chief operation officer.

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As the number of dogs in her care increases, Colonnese said the number of housing options is going down. You find creative solutions.

“Trying to get people to keep their animals, to solve their problems so they don’t have to surrender to the owners, to ask the citizens who find strays to keep them, to try to find the owners ‘ Colonnese said.

Another part of this problem is a nationwide shortage of veterinarians, so it’s now harder to get dogs to be spayed and neutered. Colonnese said the demand must be met to create a long-term solution to the dog overpopulation problem.

“The one resource we really need for a long-term solution is missing, and we’re seeing it dwindle. And unfortunately, we’re also seeing the results of that right now,” Colonnese said.

Davis and Marchbank agree that more spaying and spaying needs to take place in the community to curb the trend.

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“We would really love to see neutering and castration back on the streets. You know, they had a mobile castration clinic that was going out. And it was amazing because you had to get into those neighborhoods,” Marchbanks said.

Rescuers hope people will reconsider instead of letting go of their pets and more people will open their hearts to caring.

“If animal rescues could find more foster homes across the city to help bring the animals in, love them in their homes while we prepare them for adoption, that would help tremendously,” Davis said.

ACS also conducted an extensive poll across the community, asking people for their opinions.

“There has been a lot of talk about access to resources. They realized that solving the long-term problems — whether it was free-roaming animals or backyard breeders — was about access to education and resources,” Colonnese said.

The results are still being collected and ACS will be ready to make a recommendation in a few months.

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Meanwhile, a group of local rescue workers are setting up a private town hall with several elected officials at 2pm on Sunday May 1st at Braun Hall to discuss how to solve this problem.

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