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More animals, fewer people: Great Falls Animal Shelter temporarily reduces hours

Great Falls Animal Shelter
Great Falls Animal Shelter (June 2021)
Great Falls Animal Shelter (June 2021)
Posted at 9:02 AM, Jun 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-15 19:52:43-04

GREAT FALLS — Due to a seasonal influx of animals and limited staffing, the Great Falls Animal Shelter has temporarily changed its hours of operation.

As of June 10th and until further notice, the shelter will be open for business on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm, with kennel viewing and adoptions from 11:00 am until 4:30 pm. Office hours on Saturday are from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm, with kennel viewing and adoptions from 11:00 am until 1:30 pm. The shelter will be closed on Thursdays and Sundays.

With the weather getting warmer and more people returning to work, the Great Falls Animal Shelter has had an extreme increase in pets in their facility. They receive an average of about 2,166 pets per year. But with more than 100 cats and kittens and almost 30 dogs, their kennels are so full, they’ve had to transfer some animals to other shelters across the state, and turn some surrender cases away.

“We’ve had such an influx of animals, we’ve had to turn away owner surrenders,” said Jacquie Ricks, a kennel technician. “There are certain situations where we will still take the animal, it’s a case-by-case situation, but if you’re getting rid of your cat or dog just to get rid of your cat or dog because you’re moving or something like that, you have to find a different avenue because we are full.”

Despite the lack of full staffing, the Great Falls Animal Shelter says their volunteers have been a huge factor in helping them stay afloat and find homes for their furry friends.

Jillian Van Overbeke, interim manager of the facility, explained, “You know, if animals are not your thing, we have volunteers who just come in and help with office work or writing ‘thank you’s,’ entering licenses into the system. You know, if you’re interested in doing yard work, we have some volunteers who come in and they want to plant some flowers and water some flowers, or if you’re truly interested in the animals, you know, you can come in and play with the kitties, we do have three visitation rooms, two of them currently have cats in them because we are full, but they can play with the kitties, they can take the dogs out on walks.”

The shelter plans to go back to their regular hours soon, once they can get back on track and fill those empty employment positions.

To encourage people to help clear the shelter and find families for their pets, the Great Falls Animal Shelter is offering half-off adoption fees through Saturday, June 19th.

The shelter is located at 1010 25th Avenue NE. For more information, or to learn about adopting a pet, call the shelter at 406-454-2276, or click here to visit the website.