Filled kennels force shelter to cancel annual 'rescue day'

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With its kennels filled above capacity, Animal Friends animal shelter has canceled plans to rescue a number of animals found by local animal control facilities over the holiday weekend.

Because the animals cannot be taken in, they could be euthanized if not claimed at the control facilities.

Wednesday would have been the shelter's seventh annual "Liberation Day" rescue, but with its facilities filled above its normal capacity of 250 animals, the shelter has no room to take in dogs and cats that ran astray around the Fourth of July, according to Ann Ensminger, the shelter's director of animal wellness.

Last year, the shelter took in 28 dogs and five cats through the Liberation Day rescue, after which they were prepared for adoption, Ms. Ensminger said.

Instead of holding the rescue, Animal Friends will promote adoption through a lunch-time dog walk, dubbed a "Mutt Mob," through Downtown Wednesday between 12 and 1:30 p.m.

Animal Friends' facility in Ohio Township is currently host to 371 dogs, cats, and rabbits, Ms. Ensminger said. Many of those animals are cared for in Animal Friends' kennels or in foster care, but she said the shelter has also pursued "creative housing" options, such as setting up additional crates and utilizing office space, to accommodate them all.

Animal Friends' capacity has been strained since a neighboring shelter, the Western PA Humane Society, suspended dog admissions in early June when a dog that had recently been adopted from the shelter contracted a case of canine distemper.

Madeline R. Conway: or 412-263-1714. First Published July 8, 2014 12:00 AM

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