Animal rescue shelters see spike in dogs around Christmas

Rescue shelter officials said people tend to drop off their old, unwanted and even pregnant dogs because they don't want to care for them, or just want to get a new puppy.

Posted: Dec 20, 2018 10:27 PM
Updated: Dec 28, 2018 10:13 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- This time of year, people are working on spreading holiday cheer. But when it comes to animals, especially pregnant dogs, they tend to get the short end of the stick.

"It is a tough time of year," said Luvable Dog Rescue Founder and Director Leisl Whilhardt. "A lot of people don't realize this, but a lot of shelters do fill up with dogs right before the holidays."

Wilhardt said people tend to drop off their old, unwanted and even pregnant dogs because they don't want to care for them, or just want to get a new puppy.

That's where Luvable Dog Rescue comes in.

They take in old, unwanted and pregnant dogs from high-kill shelters, and being a no-kill shelter, they keep them and take care of them.

If you're getting a new puppy this year, Whilhardt said families should consider keeping their dogs instead of replacing them.

"We strongly encourage people, if they have an older dog, not to give up on the dogs," Wilhardt said. "Sometimes an older dog, they actually get a new leash on life when they bring home a new puppy. They have something new and fun and they actually see that their older dog suddenly seems to have more life and more joy because they brought home a puppy."

Even pregnant dogs tend to get the boot this time of year.

"Often dogs are taken to shelters just because they're pregnant or about to give birth, and families don't want to have the responsibility of dealing with that, especially at the holidays," Wilhardt said. "So, right now we've been asked to take an unusual number of pregnant dogs. So, we are taking two small breed pregnant dogs that are arriving tonight."

On Thursday evening, Jane Gilbert with Edgewater Furnishings helped bring in a van full of dogs through their non-profit, New Leash on Life, that were rescued from high-kill shelters, including those two pregnant dogs.

"It used to be one or two dogs, and now you can have up to -- if there are several moms with puppies, we've had 70 dogs on board before. So, it's pretty intense," Gilbert said. "It usually averages about 30 to 40 dogs."

But why would a furniture store get involved with rescuing dogs?

"Oh gosh. It all started out of losing our golden retriever. Don't make me cry," Gilbert said. "It just came from a love that you saw what an animal does for your home and for your heart, so we just kept going for it."

They've now helped rescue over 7,200 dogs, making two trips to California a week

Gilbert said they also see an uptick in dogs that need rescuing around Christmas.

"Yes, this time of year the shelters really do fill up, and it really puts a strain on our entire rescue network to try and get the dogs out and save their lives," Gilbert said.

You can help with the overcrowding by spaying or neutering your animals.

If you can't afford it, there are local options like Stop Pet Overpopulation Today, or SPOT, that will help you get vouchers to pay for those procedures.

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