According to animal lovers who have been helping stray animals in the county for years, the problem of abandoned and stray animals is as bad as it has ever been in Guilford County and is reaching truly alarming proportions.
The animals — often from owners who simply abandon them — create tremendous pressure on the county animal shelter, local animal rescues, and people who work to collect and help the animals.
Corinne Grant, who has worked extensively with animal placement programs in the area for years, said she was amazed at how serious the problem had become.
“It’s like an epidemic,” she said of the number of cats and dogs currently running around Guilford County unclaimed.
Grant and many other animal lovers will be at the Thursday, Sept. 8 meeting of the Guilford County Animal Services Board, which has a discussion of the county’s neutering and neutering policies on the agenda. The meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the new Guilford County Animal Shelter at 980 Guilford College Road in Greensboro.
Grant said she has great affection for animal control officers and they do everything they can, but she added that the understaffing and lack of proper spaying and sterilization practices at the refuge have created a huge problem.
For a time, the short-staffed shelter was handing out vouchers for neutering and neutering procedures — rather than conducting those procedures in-house before donating adopted animals.
Of course, many people never redeemed the vouchers as promised.
Add that to a host of other problems.
“A ton of people have given up on their pets,” Grant said.
She said the shelter and all local animal rescues had been closed.
Part of the problem is that a large number of animals have been caught by people stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic – but those people are now returning to work and no longer want a pet.
Another issue is that Guilford County Animal Services, like other county departments and businesses, is struggling to fill vacancies.
A frequent volunteer at the shelter said some people don’t follow any procedures when abandoning an animal – they just drive to the shelter and tie a dog or cat to the fence outside. Others, she says, just drop them off at a random house.
Even animals with ID chips often cannot be returned. When the owners are called, they say they don’t want the animal back.
The shelter volunteer said the county is supposed to have an effective neutering and neutering program, but it doesn’t seem to be enough.
Guilford County Animal Services Director Jorge Ortega did not call back the Rhino Times, but he is expected to be at Thursday’s meeting.