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80 pets face euthanasia deadlines at Casa Grande shelter

More than 80 animals are scheduled for euthanasia this week at the Pinal County animal shelter in Casa Grande if they are not adopted or pulled by a rescue before 5:30 a.m. deadlines Wednesday and Friday.

There are 11 dogs and one cat with a deadline of 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, and another 70 dogs and three cats with a deadline at 5:30 a.m. Friday.

Southern Arizona animal rescue groups are working to find new homes for the pets — both permanent adopters and temporary foster placements.

"Our staff and shelter are overwhelmed with the high number of owner surrenders lately, including litters and pregnant dogs," said Audra Michael, the director for Pinal County Animal Care and Control.

There are more than 270 dogs now at the shelter, which only has 167 dog runs, Michael said.

"And when animals continue to come in at a significantly higher rate than those leaving, we quickly reach a crisis point, Michael said. "We have over 70 dogs that have been here since as far back as May through September waiting for homes."

Local rescue groups will pull animals before their deadlines if fosters volunteer in time.

"Given the large number of dogs and cats listed, we and other rescues appeal to the public to come forward and help save these lives as fosters, by providing a temporary safe, caring environment until a permanent home is found," said Jeanette Reagan, the director of Lifeline Oro Valley Animal Rescue. The rescue will provide fosters with food, supplies and veterinary care for the animals.

Members of the community who are willing to foster are asked to apply at www.saferlifeline.com.

LOVAR has pulled over a hundred dogs and cats so far this year from the Casa Grande shelter — including the highest number of pitbulls, feral and fearful dogs.

"While great strides have been made this year, this is the highest number of animals we have seen in one week for a very long time," Reagan said.

"For animals to have a higher chance of finding homes in a shorter period of time, and shelters to have a lower probability of having a list of animals to be needlessly destroyed on a weekly bases," it's important for the animal shelter to work with outside nonprofit groups, she said.

In addition to the unusually large number of animals on the list this week, the shelter was closed over the holiday weekend.

"My concern is that closing this many days could substantially reduce a dog's chances of getting adopted and for those that are on the euthanasia list for this Wednesday it could mean the difference between life and death," local animal welfare advocate Loretta Hollings said.

Casa Grande resident Blanche Meister, who adopted a dog from the shelter this year, agreed that the closure made it less likely some of these animals can be saved.

"Other rescues and animal shelters were open this weekend, holding adoption fairs, or just keeping their doors open to potential adopters. Furthermore, the carnage is not just scheduled to happen on Wednesday; just days later, on Friday, another 70 animals are scheduled. We are talking about nearly 90 animals, some of which could have been adopted had there been any effort aimed at that," said Meister.

"Overcrowding at the shelter could be approached in a more progressive and humane way. For starters, it could be be open at times when working people could visit there. PCACC needs to be open some evenings, as well as each Saturday and Sunday. They need to meet the public halfway. People want to adopt and there are some wonderful dogs and cats waiting there for loving homes," she said.

While the Casa Grande shelter, 1150 Eleven Mile Corner Rd., charges direct adopters $140 for dogs and $65 for cats to cover the cost of spaying or neutering a pet, rescue groups partnered with the shelter can pull animals at no cost to a foster.

Disclosure: Maria Coxon-Smith serves on the Executive Board of Bridge Rescue for Dogs, Inc.


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What you can do

Foster an animal by applying at www.saferlifeline.com.

Donate by pledging to give money on a animal's Facebook thread and honoring that pledge with the rescue who saves the animal, or donate blankets to the shelter for the cold winter months by dropping them of to LOVAR  at Petco Oro Valley Market place 11985 N. Oracle Rd. in Oro Valley.