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DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. – The DeKalb County Animal Adoption Center is overcrowded as more and more people are surrendering their pets during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

“It’s been hectic. Been people just dropping off left and right. We get more in than we can adopt out and even rescue out,” said adoption coordinator and receptionist Sarah Gulledge.

Gulledge told WHNT News 19 she is saddened by the overwhelming number of animals brought in this month.

“It’s a people problem. It’s not an animal problem,” explained Gulledge.

230 animals have been brought into the adoption center in July of 2020. More than half of them have been euthanized because there’s not enough space.

There are 48 kennels for the dogs and one cat room at the adoption center.

It has seven-day stray holds before an animal can be adopted or before it’s euthanized.

Of the 230, 176 were owner surrenders and 54 were strays.

Gulledge said the coronavirus likely plays a major part in the recent spike.

“The corona, I mean, it’s kind of hit everybody hard. You know, they may have lost their job and they probably couldn’t afford to feed them,” said Gulledge.

She explained to WHNT News 19 that the best way to solve the problem is for pet owners to spay and neuter their furry friends.

Gulledge added that pet ownership is a big responsibility.

“They live probably 12 years and older. It is a lifelong commitment. You have to get them fixed and you have to give them Heartgard and everything for heartworm prevention,” said Gulledge.

Adoption appointments can be made by calling (256) 304-0474.

Masks must be worn inside the center.