TAMPA — It’s raining cats and dogs at the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center.
The shelter has more than 300 cats on hand — and nearly as many canines — in what the county has called “unprecedented crowding.”
The center has been at more than 500% capacity for cats for more than a week and is currently at more than 130% capacity for dogs, according to a county news release.
To try to curb the swelling population, the county is holding a free adoption party from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, during which time all fees are waived. The center is at 440 N Falkenburg Road.
The flood of animals at the pet resource center has lasted for months. In December, shelter officials said they were concerned when the building reached nearly 200% capacity during what normally would be a slow season.
Later, data from the first four months of 2022 showed animal intakes were up 43% over 2021 numbers.
Spring and early summer are considered kitten season, and the county said most of the recent population surge involves young cats. Kittens younger than 8 weeks old or weighing less than 2 pounds are not available for adoption. The county urged the public not to intercede if they see a litter, under the presumption that the mother has abandoned the kittens.
The shelter offers a Wait Until 8 program, providing supplies and instructions to help people become at-home caregivers for stray and neonatal kittens until they reach 8 weeks old. At that point, the kittens can be taken to the shelter for adoption.
The county’s pet resource center is the only open-admission shelter in the county. It accepts all dogs and cats regardless of breed, size or medical condition.
For the first four months of 2022, the county took in 1,395 dogs and 1,611 cats. A little over 1,000 of each were adopted by the public. Most of the rest were reclaimed by owners, transferred to another shelter or, in the case of cats, returned to the wild under a “trap, neuter and release” program. Seventy-three dogs and 73 cats were euthanized.