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Abuse Cases In Animal Shelters Depletes Space For New Dogs

Taylar Dawn Stagner

According to NPR, Animal shelters across the nation saw an uptick in adoptions during lockdown to cope with isolation. Two Wyoming shelters hope the dogs stay adopted and aren't returned to the shelters because there's now a lack of kennel space due to local courts being backed up.

Paws for Life in Riverton has a contract with Fremont County to house dogs found locally by law enforcement. The shelter has to house animals with pending abuse cases,but with a delay in the court system the shelter is at two-thirds capacity.

Gina Gladman is the shelter manager and says they're almost always full and there is usually a waitlist.

Gladman said, "With COVID I guess it's made our court system really slow, so I've had one abuse case since October 10 and I guess they are saying it might be June before they can go to trial."

Gladman has had to suspend volunteering at the shelter to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to make sure essential staff stays healthy.

Jeanne O'Brien is on the board as the president of the nonprofit Lander Pet Connection. O'Brian is also worried that the influx of pets obtained during quarantine will be returned when people slowly stop working from home.

"That's why we were really stringent application process and making sure that people will be able to take care of a pet for the unforeseeable future," O'Brien said,

She said that Lander Pet Connection sees 300 to 400 pets per year for potential adoption that either stay in Fremont County or get sent to other shelters when they are at capacity.

Taylar Dawn Stagner is a central Wyoming rural and tribal reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She has degrees in American Studies, a discipline that interrogates the history and culture of America. She was a Native American Journalist Association Fellow in 2019, and won an Edward R. Murrow Award for her Modern West podcast episode about drag queens in rural spaces in 2021. Stagner is Arapaho and Shoshone.
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