Many dogs are in desperate need of a home at the currently overcrowded Austin Animal Center in Austin, Texas.

Fox 7 reports that the no-kill shelter is overflowing with medium and large dogs, resulting in many of them having no kennel to sleep in.

In response to the overflow, the shelter is waving the adoption and re-claim fees for the week.

Jennifer Olahan, communications and media program manager at the Austin Animal Center, said becoming a foster or adopting a pet are the main ways the community can help right now.

“We are desperate for fosters, we are desperate for adopters.”

With more than 400 dogs in the facility at the moment, the shelter is exhausting all options at this point. Staff members told Fox 7 that due to being out of kennel space, the shelter has had to get creative to be able to house the animals:

“We’ve got dogs in our meeting rooms, pop-up kennels, we have dogs in offices, pretty much anywhere that we can put them.

Even after contacting Austin Pets Alive and the Austin Humane Society to assist with the issue, Olahan said the need for fosters and adopters remains the same.

“Austin is a no-kill community and it takes the entire community to help us stay that way.”

In an extra effort to expedite the fostering process and find homes for the dogs, the shelter is modifying their foster adoption process. Olahan told Fox7 that the usual week-long process to foster will now only take an hour:

“Anyone who is interested in fostering, if they’ve never fostered before, they can come out and we’ll process their paperwork on site and they can leave with a dog within an hour.”

Olahan said there is no definite reason the shelter is overcrowded, but the weather can sometimes have a negative effect on adoption:

“We’ll see more animals come in as lost and then that kind of adversely affects adoptions because people don’t want to come out when it’s raining, so we’ll have a higher intake, lower outcomes.”

Preventative measures, such as ID tags and microchips, are the best options to help reunite a pet with its owner. However, according to Olahan, the information is not always correct:

“A lot of times, or sometimes, that information isn’t current and so we aren’t able to get in touch with the family and then they get put up for adoption.”

Fox 7 also reported that although medium and large dogs make up the majority of the shelter’s current population, they have seen an increase in puppies lately.

With the cold weather approaching, the staff is worried about the animals they have kept in outdoor kennels. As the weather gets colder, they will eventually need to come inside.

For more information on becoming a foster or adopting a pet from the Austin Animal Center visit http://www.austintexas.gov/department/aac or call (512) 978-0500.

The shelter is open Monday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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