TAVARES — Since transitioning to no-kill classification earlier this year, the Lake County Animal Shelter is over capacity but officials are taking it in stride, vowing to take in whatever stray animals – mainly dogs and cats – in need of housing or care.
Director Whitney Boylston said the secret to balancing the intake of animals with the number going out is working with like-minded organizations to find permanent homes for the animals.
“We work very closely with our rescue organization, non-profits and foster families, who are instrumental in helping with capacity,” she said.
Boylston, just recently named to the position, has her work cut out for her with nearly 60 dogs more than the 140 that is their normal capacity in-house and four in foster homes.
Feline numbers are even higher, with 140 cats and 50 kittens in house – 40 over capacity – and more than 400 being fostered.
Mixed in with healthy animals that require standard care are animals in need of medical attention, born with defects, diseases or hurt in fights or accidents.
But becoming a no-kill community means caring for those less fortunate.
Boylston said the only time euthanizing an animal would be considered is in extreme medical cases. She said euthanizing animals would never be considered as a way to reduce capacity.
“Only when an animal is irrevocably suffering, and no treatment is available, the best available option would be to euthanize the animal humanely. An example would be organ failure,” she said.
It’s also tricky however, because for some animals, sick with diseases like FIV+, the feline version of HIV, finding a home could be a challenge.
“We always provide the known medical history on any animal that is adopted from the shelter and we advise adopters of any potential contagious illnesses,” she said.
The operational budget for the shelter is $305,482, a number that Lake County Spokesperson Kelly Lafollette said takes…