Residents who rescue animals may have to hold onto them a little longer.
Beginning Aug. 20 and continuing until September, the Department of Agriculture and Guam Animals In Need will limit non-emergency public drop-offs of animals on Tuesdays, according to a press release.
“Unless an emergency, animals coming from the general public will be asked to be held for another 24-48 hours before being turned in to GAIN,” officials stated in the release.
This temporary measure is an effort to make more kennels available for mayors and animal control to respond to an increase in animal control calls at the start of the school year, the release stated.
“We’re receiving more complaints about stray dogs making it difficult for school children to walk to, or stand at, their appropriate bus stops,” said Chelsa Muna-Brecht, Department of Agriculture director. “The stray animal problem is a crisis, and it’s getting worse.”
Muna-Brecht said the collaboration with GAIN in “managing the inflow of animals on Tuesdays (will) ensure the worst problem cases are addressed.”
The Yigo animal shelter, which is a government of Guam facility, is the island’s only animal shelter. Its operations are subcontracted to GAIN, a nonprofit animal welfare organization.
“The Yigo shelter is 50 years old, but Guam’s dog population has increased six-fold since it was built. The shelter was never designed to handle an island with this many stray animals,” said Alison Hadley, executive director of GAIN.
“Foster families and adopters are saving lives, but they are overtaxed. Limiting intakes is a short-term, band-aid solution. Long-term, the animal shelter must expand to meet community needs, and we need an island-wide government spay and neuter program.”
Officials also noted that while non-emergency public drop-offs will not be accepted on Tuesdays, the shelter will remain open for volunteers and adopters. Normal operations will continue on all other days. GAIN is open 365 days a year, and is located next to the Yigo gym. To learn how you can help, call GAIN at (671) 653-4246 or Animal Control at (671) 300-7964/5/6/7.