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Lewis and Clark Humane Society hits critical capacity

lchs adoptable cat
Posted at 4:54 PM, Jul 20, 2023

HELENA — If you have been considering adopting an animal, Lewis and Clark Humane Society staff say now could be the perfect time.

The shelter is currently at critical capacity, and they are hoping to get animals out the door and into their forever homes.

“We are overflowing,” LCHS director of development and communication Cassidy Cook said. “We are out of space.”

Cook said they shelter has some space reserved for court-ordered holds and stray animals that have no where else to go, but they cannot take any more owner surrenders or animals that have a place to stay, even if it is just temporary.

LCHS staff have tried different things to encourage people to adopt, like discounted or waived adoption fees and adoption events. Cook said those things have worked—almost 40 animals found forever homes at an adoption event in June—but they are only temporary fixes.

“We hold adoption events, we tell people ‘hey, we’re getting full,’ and then we just fill back up again,” Cook said.

There are a number of factors contributing to the situation at the shelter. Cook said summer is always busy with animals who escape from yards or run away while exploring the outdoors with their owners. On top of the usual business, the shelter is dealing with the aftereffects of the pandemic. Since the spay and neuter programs were paused during the pandemic, the shelter is seeing a number of kittens and puppies. Cook said they are also getting a number of owner-surrendered animals.

“I think we’re seeing a lot of fallout from people who maybe adopted animals during COVID, and are now having to go back to work maybe realizing they don’t fit their life the way they thought they would,” Cook said.

To help more animals find forever homes, the shelter brought back open kennel viewing.

“I think some people think that just a picture doesn’t quite give them the whole vibe of what the animal is going to be like or the true idea of what the animal is going to be like,” Cook said.

Thursdays through Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m., the kennels will be open for people to stop by and meet the adoptable animals, and maybe find their perfect match—no appointment necessary.

There are other ways to help too, LCHS has online wishlists of items to be donated, and they always need volunteers and foster families. You can find more information on the LCHS website.