ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Animal shelters across the bi-state area are facing severe space shortages. The St. Louis County Animal shelter said it’s worried the fourth of July holiday will only enhance the issue.

The St. Louis County Health Department said it’s a pattern they see every summer. Many people are abandoning or not taking care of animals, which causes more strays on the streets. The shelter said they do not have space for more animals.

“We absolutely have a great demand for services,” said Chris Ave with the county health department. “In fact, there’s more demanded the community than we have actually have the resources to meet right now.”

The shelter currently has about 200 animals, mostly consisting of large dogs. Due to the lack of space, Ave said the shelter has cut back on going out and getting strays off the street.

The health department will only intervene if the animal is dangerous and poses a threat to people or other animals.

“I know that’s frustrating for people who would like to have the animals just picked up in their neighborhoods if the animals are wandering around,” said Ave. “We get that, but right now, we’re committed to not euthanizing animals just a crate space for more animals. That’s one thing we want to.”

Ave said he is worried that strays will become a bigger issue after the fourth of July holiday with animals running away or pet owners abandoning animals from excessive barking.

“That’s a terrible thing to do. That’s bad for the pet, and a lot of negative things can happen from that,” said Ave. “It also just increases the pressure and all shelters.”

Ave said the county is working to finalize a contract with a local non-profit to help increase shelter capacity.

Until then, Ave encourages St. Louisans to step up in multiple ways; you can adopt from the shelters to give many animals their forever homes, you foster animals to free up space at the shelters, and most importantly, be a responsible pet owner.

“Animals need care. Owners of animals should not be owners of animals unless they’re committed to caring for that animal,” said Ave.

If you would like to adopt an animal from the county shelter, you can stop by every Tuesday without an appointment, or you can make an appointment and fill out your application by clicking here: https://stlouiscountymo.gov/st-louis-county-departments/public-health/animal-care-control/pet-adoption/

For more resources, click here: https://stlouiscountymo.gov/st-louis-county-departments/public-health/animal-care-control/