MADRAS, Ore. - Like many shelters, Jefferson County Kennels often operates at, or near capacity, but these last few weeks have been especially rough.
"The biggest problem is like, just now, I went out to Crooked River Ranch and just took Five 6-month-old dogs from a residence, and then she has a litter of puppies there also," Dog Control Officer Renee Davidson said Monday.
Davidson said the woman who had her dogs claimed couldn't afford to get her dog "fixed." Davidson said the shelter would try to get the woman a free spaying service, but it's just one of many problems around Jefferson County.
Davidson said she has 45 dogs in the shelter that has just 27 kennels. Several dogs are doubled up -- even though the Humane Society of Central Oregon in Bend responded to a call for help and took nine of their dogs. And the Oregon Humane Society in Portland comes out once a month pick up dogs.
Davidson said there are two main problems in the county that seem to be getting worse: People are not getting their dogs spayed and neutered, and many people are moving and abandoning pets.
"It's hard, because there are more and more people (who) don't want to get rid of their dogs but they can't afford to get them fixed," she said.
Davidson also said that recently, shelter officials are finding more and more dogs left behind in homes and apartments.
"Two pit (bulls) were left behind in a house," Davidson said. "And then we had a shepherd mix that a guy (had who) was squatting in a house -- when they went to go change the locks, the dog was in there."
Davidson said people frequently come and drop off their pets, claiming they're strays.
And a lot of these dogs are pit bulls. The shelter has about 13 adult pit bulls right now. And in many cases, outside shelters, like the Oregon Humane Society can't take the pit bulls.
Some of Jefferson County Kennels' pit bulls have been at the shelter for more than a year.
Davidson told NewsChannel 21 the shelter will never put a dog down for space -- and in times like these, she said she's grateful for the help from other shelters.
But despite region-wide partnerships, Davidson said she's still bracing for the busy season.
"We're not even in puppy season, and we're already swimming in dogs," Davidson said. " I can't even imagine what it's going to be like. It's going to be hard, it's going to be a hard spring."
If you would like to adopt a new dog, the shelter is located at 1694 SE McTaggart Road in Madras. The shelter's phone number is 541.475.6889.
Jefferson County officials also told NewsChannel 21 that they only have two employees, and have a hard time getting the dogs out for walks and exercise.
The shelter is always looking for new volunteers to walk and play with dogs.
They also could use donations of puppy food, dog food and bleach for cleaning.