ST. LOUIS – Shelters across the country are overflowing with animals in search of a forever home.

Care STL Adoption Center wants to help its pets find a new home and assist their new owners in understanding how to care for them.

“Shelters across the country are struggling with overpopulation like we are,” said Valerie Strobo, vice president of operations at Care STL Adoption Center. “It’s more about working with the public to have them be your ally and support your mission.”

Strobo said they are two times over capacity. They house 70 dogs, but they have more than 130 dogs on site and even more in foster homes.

“There’s no shortage of need,” she said. “Again, this is a very exploited population that needs a lot of help and support from the community.”

Strobo said before adopting a pet, they encourage bringing the family to meet the animal and understand the type of training it would need, how it gets along with other pets at home, diet needs, and vet care costs.

Care STL has a lot of dogs that were abandoned on the street, had to scrounge for food, and never had vet care.

They have seen an unprecedented number of animals coming to the shelter with injuries, broken limbs, and gunshot wounds.

“People really underestimate. You need to help this animal acclimate to life inside, on couches, on beds,” Strobo said. “You have to literally kind of teach them that they’re safe.”

Dogs should enroll in a six- to eight-week basic obedience course. Care STL is offering post-adoption training for all adoptions beginning in 2023.

Vet care can cost $100 to $150 a year. Food can cost between $50 to $100 a month.

Strobo said you can also help shelters by fostering animals or volunteering.