Stillwater Animal Welfare seeking more adoptions to avoid euthanasia

Mar. 17—The Stillwater Animal Welfare is a no-kill shelter — for now.

Because of a sudden increase in dogs, the shelter could possibly resort to euthanasia in order to help its overwhelmed kennels, according to City officials. Their intended solution is for the public to adopt more of the animals.

Animal Welfare Director Rachel Wasserman said it has been about a year since the last time the shelter requested heavy adoption efforts from the public.

"We cannot maintain our 'no-kill' facility status with the amount of animals being brought in on a daily basis now. The adoption rate is low and the number of surrenders is up," Wasserman said. "The last thing we want to do is euthanize healthy animals due to lack of space."

All of the Animal Welfare officers are euthanasia trained and certified for emergency situations, mostly to humanely ease the suffering of an animal that will not survive an injury, but they only choose to kill adoptable pets as a last resort. That choice may have to be made soon.

The shelter, which has been eyed by the City of Stillwater for demolition and being replaced with a new facility if funding is ever in place, features 26 large dog kennels but is now housing more than 40 dogs that have been squeezed into wire crates, cat cages and offices.

Wasserman said the increase in dog abandonment can be attributed to financial issues or new owners not committing to everything that comes with taking care of a pet such as house training.

"We get people that get animals and don't realize that they are work, and they don't want to do the work," Wasserman said. "They just have to realize that pets are a big responsibility."

Thea Easly was signing the adoption papers for Princess on Friday when the News Press stopped by. Princess is a 65-pound, 2-year-old Bullmastiff mix that is missing a toe.

"I've been trying to talk myself into getting a dog for a while now," Easly said. "And I work for the city so when I saw (The Stillwater Animal Welfare) needed help, I went online and found a dog I wanted."

There are several upcoming adoption events in the community to introduce available pets to prospective owners.

Saturday, there is a dog adoption event at the Sonic on Perkins Road from 1 p.m to 3 p.m. Wasserman said the people who work there love to support animal welfare.

Two more dog adoption events are scheduled for March 26 at The Renaissance of Stillwater on McElroy Road from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and for March 28 at Blue Peak on Main Street from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Adoption fees are $60 for dogs and $40 for cats. Some people in the community have paid the fees for animals over the phone as sponsors, Wasserman said.

"We are in desperate need of adoptions and volunteers," Wasserman said. "This crisis is one that requires a community solution."