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Pinal County Animal Care and Control Faces Potential Loss of 'No-Kill' Status

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In a heartfelt appeal, the head of Pinal County Animal Care and Control (PCACC) recently acknowledged the reality that their 'no-kill' status, maintained since 2018, might soon be in jeopardy. This distressing turn of events arises from the shelter's current overcrowding issues. "Our core belief is that all animals should have a chance at a happy home," explained Audra Michael, PCACC Director. "But the hard truth is that the overcrowding problem forces us to reconsider that belief. And it's not just a remote fear—it's a pressing reality."

The situation started becoming dire around the middle of 2021, when a surge of dogs being surrendered to the shelter began, with no signs of slowing down. Despite PCACC's concerted efforts to promote adoption and fostering via social media campaigns and newsletters, along with attractive adoption incentives, the community response has been less than adequate.

In 2022 alone, the shelter welcomed over 300 stray dogs, with over 100 more already taken in this year. "And remember, it's not just Pinal County grappling with this issue," reminded Michael, "cities like Coolidge and Maricopa, along with other places with animal control but no shelters, are also in the mix."

As for the reason behind the decline in adoptions, Michael speculated that their location—quite literally in the middle of nowhere—may not be aiding their cause. With the shelter currently housing 234 dogs and only 152 kennels to accommodate them, they've had to resort to doubling up dogs in some kennels and even transforming office spaces into makeshift shelters. The situation is further complicated by a shortage of volunteers—the team currently only boasts 25 fully active members.

One such volunteer, Kimberly Cullinane, a student from the Central Arizona Valley Institute of Technology, shared her rewarding experience at the shelter: "I come in, spend some quality time with the dogs, and it brightens their entire day—and mine."

For Kimberly, assisting the dogs brings immense joy and satisfaction. "You get to interact with all these lovely creatures who are yet to find their forever homes, showering them with affection they might not have experienced before," she reflected.

Despite the volunteers' commitment to ensuring each dog gets out for a stroll or some playtime every day, there are still challenges. Arizona's rising temperatures and the lack of volunteers make it a daunting task.

If the community doesn't rally soon and the adoption or fostering rates don't improve, the shelter may be compelled to euthanize some dogs—an unthinkable predicament that could materialize within days. Those wishing to adopt, foster, or volunteer at PCACC are urged to reach out through a phone call to (520) 509-3555, a message on their Facebook page, or by visiting the shelter in person at 1150 S. 11 Mile Corner Rd. in Casa Grande.
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Saturday, 18 May 2024

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