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Central Missouri Humane Society deals with high number of animal surrenders


The Central Missouri Humane Society has introduced a new tool to get dogs into good homes as the shelter deals with overcrowding this summer.

"Like most shelters and rescues across the country, we are seeing an increase in intakes and an increased length of stay for the pets in our care," said CMHS Associate Director Michelle Casey.

Casey said spring and summer are busy times at the animal shelter, with more cats giving birth during what Casey called 'kitten season,' and more dog owners wanting to rehome their pets.

This week, CMHS introduced its Priority Paws At-Risk List tool in an attempt to get more at-risk dogs out of the shelter. The dogs included on the list are a top priority to leave the shelter and have their adoption fees waived.

Casey said dogs are added to this list if they are dealing with high kennel stress and not doing well at the shelter. Some dogs on the list also might have behavior or housing restrictions.

"It's really just to let people know that these are pets that aren't doing well at the shelter," Casey said. "It still doesn't mean that they have a time limit, but these are pets that are more challenging to place."

The organization's website said it wants to prioritize getting these at-risk animals out of the shelter to avoid making decisions about euthanasia. While the shelter had a placement rate of 97% in 2023, its website said requests to take animals often outweigh the kennel space available at its location on Big Bear Blvd.

CMHS is currently in the process of building a new, larger shelter just north of Columbia.

In December, the organization obtained 17.5 acres of land on the northwest corner of Rangeline Street and Brown School Road. Casey said they are now in the planning and zoning stage.

ABC 17 News previously reported the shelter will be about 23,000 square feet, which will be almost double the current shelter's size. The new building will have more housing space and a large focus on community resources.

City of Columbia Spokesperson Sydney Olsen said a discussion on planning and zoning at that location has been tabled until the June 20 Planning and Zoning meeting.

Casey said once that process is complete, they are hoping to complete the sale by the end of the summer, with hopes to begin using the land in the fall.

The new building is estimated to cost around $8 million-$10 million to build.

Meanwhile, the Jefferson City Animal Shelter is currently at capacity for both dogs and cats, according to Jefferson City Police Capt. David Williams. He said late spring and summer is the time of year when many kittens are dropped off at the shelter, while the amount of dogs can vary.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia

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Morgan Buresh

Morgan is an evening anchor and reporter who came to ABC 17 News in April 2023.


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