Overcrowded Animal Shelters Brace for 4th of July


Overflowing cages, supplies spread thin, and dozens upon dozens of homeless animals. It’s the most difficult time of the year for shelters. 

“It’s rough. I mean there’s no other way about it,” said Torey Fraidley, a worker at the Sullivan County Animal Shelter. We have to bring in crates and we have to stack them on top of each other, just to make room for more.”

The Sullivan County Animal Shelter is nearly full with dogs, and especially overcapacity with cats, at the height of what they call “kitten season.” 

“Monday and Tuesday we had in sixty cats within two days,” Fraidley said. “Sometimes we have to put kittens with other kittens in different litters and hope they’re not sick.”

More crowding is expected due to the 4th of July holiday. Veterinary clinics also receive higher numbers of calls about missing animals at this time every year. 

“Prior to the fourth of July and the days following, there are a lot of fireworks going off and that really does frighten the pets,” said Melanie Widener, a receptionist at Colonial Heights Animal Hospital.

The Animal Hospital stresses that you should keep your pets indoors. They also say it’s not too late to microchip your pet. However, they say there’s one thing microchipped pet owners often forget. 

“Keep the microchip company updated with your current registrations,” Widener said. “We know a lot of people’s cell phone numbers change, their addresses change. If you do move to another location and you do not change that information, then they could be looking for you later and be unsuccessful at finding your pet.”

If you want to help animal shelters at this time, both adoptions and donations are needed.

“We definitely need litter right now. It’s a big need. As many cats as we have right now, we’re going through it like crazy,” Fraidley said.

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