ST LOUIS – As Care STL reaches record-high intake, doubling its capacity limit, staffing and supply shortages are part of the reason employees and volunteers are urging community members to foster and adopt dogs.

Solemn stares between bars fill stretches of a storage room. Many of the dogs are confined to 2×4 cages for about 23 hours of the day.

“We’re at 200 percent capacity, which really tells you the urgency we have to get the community involved,” Abbie Atteberry, executive director at Care STL, said.

As of right now, the shelter has around 160 dogs at the facility. When the facility first started in 2018, it was built to house around 60 animals, providing a no-kill outlet for homeless animals.

“We’re using overflow housing, even some of our outside kennels, to temporarily house dogs,” Atteberry said.

The dropping temperatures are raising concerns as to how these dogs will be properly cared for.

“We’re really trying to avoid housing dogs outside,” Atteberry said.

She and her teammates have avoided using outside kennels, but they’re running out of space to do so.

The animal shelter is looking for innovative ways to keep dogs happy and healthy. They’re asking for help.

“Anything that’s gently used that can go towards the animals, we will accept and repurpose,” Atteberry said.

The organization has even changed its adoption protocol, making it easier and more inclusive.

“Our organization believes in being scrappy, being innovative, and finding ways to solve problems. That still enables us to save lives,” Atteberry said.

As rows of cages take up storage rooms, the community can donate treats, toys, towels, and blankets to keep stray animals warm in the weather.

The animal rescue will pay for all expenses to house an emergency foster. Atteberry said the biggest concern is making sure our four-legged friends are out of the cold.