The homeward bound humane society is at cat-pacity. Employees say they have too many cats and kittens coming in, and not enough being adopted and fostered. Channel 3′s Melissa Cooney spoke with them today to learn more about what’s causing this problem.

“people are struggling. For one reason or another they’re struggling. And we see it. And the animals feel it. And the building feels it,” said Carly Lehrer, the shelter manager of the homeward bound humane society.

homeward bound humane society in Middlebury is filled to the brim with 129 cats and kittens with 30 on the way — in addition to the guinea pigs, rabbits, dogs, and bird that also live there. “we do have a lot of cats — it’s this time of season that’s when most people give them up because they want dogs or its too much to take care of. So we do have a lot of adult cats that are given up,” said cat care worker Abbigail Rivait.

Giving up an animal is referred to as ‘surrendering’ — something homeward bound is familiar with right now.

Employees say that 418 out of 575 sheltered animals came from surrendering.

This time last year, only 247 animals were surrendered. What is causing this huge surge? There seems to be a few reasons.

“Everybody was home, everyone thought lets get a dog or a cat lets rescue and then they go back to work and their lives resume and maybe the progress they thought they were going to make with that animal maybe didn’t happen,” said Lehrer.

This isn’t the only COVID related cause. Lehrer also says that some folks have begun to experience homelessness after the state of emergency ended, leaving there no place for an animal to live.

Loosening COVID restrictions is causing less families to be foster parents for the animals, a program they saw increase when COVID-19 began.

“Honestly getting so much surrenders makes me sad because of all of the cats we can’t take in at the time,” said Rivait.

So, the team at homeward bound is getting creative. They’re having a back to school cat and kitten adoption sale.

Society “we’re hoping as people go back to schools and get back in their routines, and are done with those long awaited summer breaks that they want to add to their family,” said Lehrer.

Oakley rivers and his family own 2 adopted cats from homeward bound. He says – it was love at first purr “He was just really lovable from the start,” said Rivers.

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