PACC shelter at 142% capacity, dogs in critical need of homes, fosters

Pima Animal Care Center has far more dogs than they should, with stray pets filling up more 140 percent of the shelter’s maximum capacity. Officials are seeking adopters and fosters to relieve the overcrowding, saying they do not want to put down dogs just for space reasons.

This weekend, those who choose to adopt or foster for two weeks will receive a $50 Central Pet store credit to use on supplies for the pup from Friends of Pima Animal Care Center’s donation fund.

“We have 555 dogs in our shelter today,” said Monica Dangler, PACC’s director of animal services, in a news release. “This is an absolutely critical situation. If we are not able to reduce the number of dogs in our shelter immediately, we are in a position where we will have to consider deadlining for euthanasia healthy, adoptable dogs.”

Dangler told the Tucson Sentinel the shelter has stretches in which the occupancy drops, and then spikes to the sort of critical levels they’re experiencing this week. 

She said the causes for those spikes vary: puppies being born, people lacking enough income to support their pets, housing issues and the weather, which can cause gates to blow open, which allows dogs to escape their homes.

“We’ve working at max capacity now for a couple of years, basically since we reopened up from COVID,” Dangler said. “We were at 500 before all those rainstorms came through last weekend, so it wasn’t surprising that we got hit pretty hard on Sunday and Monday.”

Dangler said one of the main ways the community can help with the situation is by making sure their dogs are have collars and visible tags with the information needed to match a lost dog to its family. 

She said that the shelter provides free tags and people can come to the shelter for one during their open hours.

“Another way people can help is by helping us take dogs back home – those that don’t have tags — by using Petco Love Lost. That’s the platform that we use,” Dangler said. “It uses AI to match lost and found reports and connects people.”

The news release said that if people were to find a stray animal they should attempt to find the animal’s family instead of bringing it to the shelter. Bringing the animal to the shelter lowers the chance that the animal “will be less likely” to be reunited with their humans and “will place that pet at risk of illness and euthanasia.”

“We’re really far away from a lot of places in Pima County, so sometimes it’s hard for people to get here. There’s people who are new to our area and might not know we exist or to come look here. But once a pet comes to the shelter, they have about a 15 percent chance of getting reunited with their families,” Dangler said.

PACC has a list online called the Urgent Dog Placement List detailing which dogs are at risk of getting a deadline for euthanasia. Whoever decides to adoptor foster a dog for two weeks — the dog must be 6 months or older — will receive a $50 credit to the Central Pet store. 

All the puppies at PACC are free to adopt, while there’s a $20 licensing fee for adult dogs. 

Those who are interested in adopting or fostering a dog from PACC are encouraged to go to the shelter, which is open on Wednesdays from 1:30 – 7 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from noon – 7 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The shelter is located at 4000 N. Silverbell Rd.