New policy leads to overcrowding at Cleveland animal shelter - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

New policy leads to overcrowding at Cleveland animal shelter

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CLEVELAND, TN. (WRCB) – The new rules for euthanizing animals have created overcrowding in Cleveland's Animal Control center.

Now, a group hoping to make Cleveland a no kill city, is calling on the community to intercede, before healthy dogs are put down.

They say more than a dozen lives are on the line.

Wednesday, puppy 492 received a name, Bella.

But like 40 other dogs at Cleveland Animal Control, she's still waiting for a home.

"We have to get these dogs out, or we will have the first case in a month and a half of a dog being killed for space," says Lindsey Smith.

The facility off Hill Street is at capacity.

Nineteen runs are meant to hold two dogs a piece, but some house litters.

"You'll see probably three or four in there," says Gene Smith.

"So you guys are full," asks Channel 3.

"Yeah, we're pretty much full," replies Gene Smith.

Director Gene Smith says the overcrowding can be attributed to one thing.

"We do hold animals longer than we used to," he says.

City leaders recently adopted new Animal Control rules.

All animals must now be kept 72 hours before being euthanized.

"Often times they were lasting 24 hours, not even," Lindsey Smith says. "You could bring your dog in at 4:30 in the afternoon, and it was put down the next day."

The group Cleveland for a No Kill City fought for the new rules, and has stepped in to help smith manage adoptions.

They post pictures on Facebook with descriptions and a warning for pet owners who plan to surrender a dog or cat.

"This is not a place to go and take your pet if you want to be certain that your pet finds a home and lives," Lindsey Smith says.

Volunteer coordinator Lindsey Smith estimates about a dozen animals could be put down, if homes are not found.

"We don't want to put any down that they may have a person interested in adopting," says Gene Smith.

"They're trying and we're trying," Gene Smith says. "That's all we can do."

Last year Animal Control was taking in about 450 animals a month and euthanizing about half.

Last month 423 animals were surrendered or picked up. About 50 were put down. The rest were adopted.

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