Animal shelter overrun with dogs; euthanasia rates to increase – Ashland News

Animal shelter overrun with dogs; euthanasia rates to increase - Ashland News

County urges community members to consider adopting animals, pet owners to keep pets secure

By Buffy Pollock, Rogue Valley Times

Capacity at the Jackson County animal shelter has exceeded acceptable levels since Tuesday.

County officials said in a release Wednesday that the facility between Phoenix and Talent can no longer accept additional dogs — stray or otherwise — and that euthanasia rates will increase due to overcrowding.

In the release, the county appealed to the community for help, urging people to consider adopting pets and preventing existing ones from ending up at the shelter.

Stacy Brubaker, Jackson County Health & Human Services director, said in the release that the shelter has housed more than 120 dogs since Tuesday and, “unfortunately, (has) no additional space to continue to accept or maintain these animals at these levels.”

Brubaker said all adoption fees will be waived through April 14 for all dogs to “clear the shelter.”

Until further notice, Brubaker said the shelter would only accept animals that the county’s animal control program is “required to take through statute, due to public safety and risk as we are required to do until we can get back down to a manageable number.”

Brubaker said the county is attempting to identify other regional shelters or rescue entities such as Friends of the Animals — formerly Friends of the Animal Shelter — to take them in.

Meredith Yox looks after dogs being stored in the hallway of the Jackson County Animal Shelter.

The release encouraged community members to adopt available dogs if they had the resources, including the ability to provide basic health care and time to exercise, socialize and train them.

In addition, the release asked pet owners to ensure their animals wear identification so they can be returned promptly is lost. Owners should also secure outdoor enclosures and fences to minimize the number of pets reported lost and taken to the shelter.

“We are asking folks to do what they can to ensure their dogs are kept safe and contained so they do not get out or require a visit to the shelter,” Brubaker said in the release.

Local law enforcement agencies have been encouraged to contact the county animal services at 541-774-6654 before delivering animals to the shelter, and to provide information to allow shelter staff to help connect owners with missing pets.

“Unfortunately,” the release said, “when we are this much over capacity our euthanasia rates will increase.”

Wednesday’s announcement comes days after county officials discussed the need for a new, larger shelter and agreed to ask local municipalities to allow their voters to vote in November’s election on whether to create an animal services district.

The last year has brought a slew of changes and challenges for the county-run shelter, beginning with a new policy in March 2023 that prevented Friends of the Animal Shelter volunteers from walking dogs on Mondays, when the shelter is closed to the public.

Volunteers appealed to Jackson County commissioners, during weekly meetings for most of 2023, voicing concerns about the policy change and other issues, including cleanliness and overcrowding at the shelter.

In December, Friends of the Animal Shelter Executive Director Sky Loos announced that FOTAS was “dropping the S” and expanding its mission statement — which has been county-focused since 1991 — in favor of a regional focus.

Shelter manager Kim Casey was abruptly dismissed in early January.

In late February, Loos announced that county officials had rescinded the “no Mondays” volunteer dog-walking policy and that volunteers could return to Monday dog walks beginning March 4.

Weeks later, Loos announced her resignation, citing a need to do “what’s best for myself and my family.” Friday will be her last day as FOTAs director.

FOTAs officials did not immediately respond to the Rogue Valley Times’ request for comment regarding the county’s release.

For updated information about dogs available for adoption, visit For adoption requests, call 541-774-6654.

Reach reporter Buffy Pollock at 458-488-2029 or Follow her on Twitter @orwritergal. This story first appeared in the Rogue Valley Times.

Animal shelter overrun with dogs; euthanasia rates to increase – Ashland News

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