DFW Animal Shelters Maxing Out

A dog at the Dallas Animal Services and Adoption Center
A dog at the Dallas Animal Services and Adoption Center | Image by Dallas Animal Services and Adoption Center/Facebook

The DFW area is facing a shelter capacity crisis for dogs across the metroplex.

Dallas Animal Services (DAS) is currently at around 129% capacity for dogs, meaning 388 dogs in 300 kennels. Since March 2020, DAS has waived adoption fees to encourage more dog adoptions into loving homes.

“We cannot save lives without the community, and we have seen that in times of extreme overcrowding in the shelter, they will show up to help,” Sarah Sheek, assistant general manager of community management of DAS, told The Dallas Express.

“We do everything we can to keep pets out of the shelter and with the families that love them,” added Sheek.

Fort Worth Animal Services (FWAS) typically maintains more than 1,200 animals. Currently, more than 1,300 animals are in its care, with both main shelter locations operating at or near capacity, according to Anastasia Ramsey, the superintendent of the Fort Worth Animal Care and Control Shelter.

As previously reported by DX, in July 2023, DAS was at 130% capacity, and FWAS shelters were at 99%.

FWAS has been hosting off-site adoption events within the community, promoting the animals, foster programs, and volunteer programs.

“The adoption of shelter animals is crucial for communities because it saves lives, alleviates overcrowding in shelters, and promotes responsible pet ownership,” Ramsey told DX.

“By adopting from shelters, individuals provide loving homes to animals in need, reducing euthanasia rates and giving abandoned animals a second chance at happiness. Additionally, adopting from shelters helps curb pet overpopulation and supports the valuable work of animal rescue organizations,” added Ramsey.

Many animals at shelters are also put on what is known as “Code Red,” referring to the animals most urgently needing adoption or rescue. According to Ramsey, these animals may be placed on Code Red for various reasons, such as in-shelter behavior, reported behavior by the previous owner, previous history, or outstanding medical conditions.

Fort Worth area shelters had 60 Code Red dogs, and DAS had 61 as of March 25.

For individuals who want to help but cannot adopt, fostering or volunteering are encouraged. According to DAS, same-day fostering is available, where a pet is chosen to take home with either a short-term or long-term option available.

“Foster parents help increase the adoptability of these shelter animals by providing care and a foster home during this time of transition from the shelter to an adopter’s home,” the Fort Worth Animal Care and Control (FWACC) website reads.

Large adult dogs always need fostering, as DAS takes in dozens of animals daily, with large dogs having the largest population in the shelters. Dogs with medical needs and pregnant moms also always need fostering.

DAS requires a foster application, foster agreement, and general release. DAS provides supplies if needed based on what they have available and if requested.

FWACC is also open to fostering. Their biggest need is short-term fostering of medium- and large-adult dogs and pets recovering from illness or injury or needing medical care. The agency provides all vaccinations, spay/neuter services, microchip and in-shelter vet care, food, treats, beds, crates, and leashes. FWACC requires a foster form to be filled out.

Available FWACC foster dogs can be found here. DAS foster dogs can be found here.

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