WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — The SPCA of Wake County is a rescue, so it doesn’t euthanize for space.
“We have about eight dogs that have been here going on a year. They get to go outside all the time, they have fun with their volunteers and staff, but they want a rich life,” said Samantha Ranlet, a spokesperson for the organization.
The no-euthanasia policy is something Ranlet is thankful for, especially amid the rising cost of living and inflation.
“People are struggling not only to find affordable housing for themselves but affordable housing for themselves and their pet,” she said.
Another trend lately, Ranlet says, is breed discrimination.
“They’ll call their landlord, their apartment complex, and say they have to go through the breed approval process. They’ll see her picture and it’s immediately rejected and adoption falls through and it happens over and over again,” Ranlet said.
She says the organization took in 5,000 animals this year, its highest number ever, up 1,000 from last year.
She says that number reflects the growing need in the community.
“This [kitten adoption] room should essentially be empty — actually repurposed for adult cats, which is normally what we do in the winter, but … there are kittens everywhere,” Ranlet said.
As the holiday season kicks off, Ranlet says she worries about pet surrenders, which are already on the rise.
Over the past year, the organization has brought in over a thousand pets surrendered by their owners. That’s more than double the previous year and also its highest number ever.
“We just hope that the families that come here looking for new pets to bring home to their families will understand that we’re going to love this pet after it grows up, after it gets big. Our goal is to set those families up for success so that they can all enjoy that animal and that animal can enjoy that family for their entire life,” she said.
With many shelters across Wake County filled to the brim, Ranlet says there are ways the community can help make the situation better.
The SPCA of Wake County would love for landlords, insurance companies and housing owners to reconsider their pet policies to be more open and accepting of different kinds of breeds. They would also love for more people to get their animals spayed and neutered, so they can get the population under control.
And, of course, for anyone to consider adoption because, Ranlet says, you’re not just saving a life, but making space to rescue another pet in need.