TAMPA — Someone dropped off the stray — a fluffy white dog with big, sad eyes — at the West Tampa shelter just after the storm passed. Snowflake, the staff at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay named her.
She joined Buddy the boxer mix, Lorenzo the coonhound and dozens of other canines crowded into a shelter currently in crisis.
The big dogs need help.
The Humane Society of Tampa Bay at 3607 N Armenia Ave. suddenly has so many dogs it can no longer accept any more strays or dogs surrendered by their owners.
“First there’s the storm — it didn’t hit us, but there was a spike in people giving us their pets because they were leaving the area,” Humane Society CEO Sherry Silk said Tuesday. Good Samaritans brought in stray dogs in droves around the time of the storm, and the Humane Society also took in animals when another local shelter temporarily closed last week. The Humane Society also received seven dogs and 15 cats from hard-hit Hardee County related to Hurricane Ian.
Cages at the shelter, which has capacity for 175 dogs, have been divided in half to make room. Dogs lie on cots or donated blankets or sit at their cage doors, wagging tails hopefully when people pass by.
But there’s no more room at the inn, officials there say.
“Our only choice is to not take (strays or surrendered dogs) or start euthanizing the animals that have been in our care,” said Silk. “And we’re not going to do that.”
As incentive for anyone considering adding a dog their household, the shelter is waiving the $125 adoption fee for dogs that weigh 30 pounds or more through Friday at 5 p.m..
The shelter is not, at the moment, overcrowded with cats, though there are plenty of adoptable ones, officials said.
People are welcome to visit the shelter for a meet-and-greet, said marketing and content manager Regan Blessinger.
“They’re loving, great dogs,” she said.
For more information, go to https://humanesocietytampa.org.
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Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Ian coverage
FEMA: Floridians hurt by Ian can now apply for FEMA assistance. Here’s how.
THE STORM HAS PASSED: Now what? Safety tips for returning home.
POST-STORM QUESTIONS: After Hurricane Ian, how to get help with fallen trees, food, damaged shelter.
WEATHER EFFECTS: Hurricane Ian was supposed to slam Tampa Bay head on. What happened?
MORE STORM COVERAGE: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane.