Fosters needed as animal shelter forced to expand list for humane euthanasia

Published: Aug. 11, 2023 at 3:35 PM EDT
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Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control is in urgent need of pet fosters, as there is a crisis of overcrowding. This week, some of the communications with its rescue placements shifted as the shelter said it has run out of physical space and staff needed to provide humane care, in an effort to reduce cases of euthanasia.

While the goal is to provide placement and care for every animal that comes through its doors, at the moment the shelter said it’s simply not possible. The shelter must focus on lifesaving efforts for the animals likeliest to be adopted quickly. That means, animals with need for behavior modification and/or medical care may need to be humanely euthanized if they cannot be placed with partners outside the agency.

“We have been over capacity for months right now, but it is the worst that we’ve seen. We have about 144 kennels, but about 237 dogs right now,” explained Melanie Perazzo, public relations specialist. “So, dogs are being paired up in one kennel. There’s too many dogs coming into our facility.”

The shelter sends communication to interested parties regularly to show which animals are potentially at risk of euthanasia. Starting this week, the categories of animals that can be humanely euthanized without a rescue request with a short period for pick-up was expanded to include animals with more complicated health issues, bite history, and safety risks.

Melanie Perazzo, public relations specialist, explains how the shelter is overwhelmed with...
Melanie Perazzo, public relations specialist, explains how the shelter is overwhelmed with animals and is in dire need of help.

“We are receiving so many dogs right now, coming into our shelter,” Perazzo said, “that the number of dogs coming out, being adopted, fostered, or rescued, does not compare.”

Perazzo said the people who work at the shelter, and with the partners, are all animal lovers, and it’s a sad situation. The crisis is one that includes the entire community. Your help is needed, and every conceivable barrier is being removed in an effort to get more people to help.

“We don’t have enough staff right now to take care of so many animals, we need so many resources to take care of all of the animals that come in. And as the county’s open admission shelter, we take in any animal that comes in and we cannot deny any animal that comes in. We are ground zero,” Perazzo said. “We are the resource for the county for all of the community pets. Right now, we need our community’s help to keep being that resource and to keep being able to provide for any animal, regardless of medical, behavior. But we need our community’s help with adopting and fostering. If people are willing to volunteer, it helps a lot.”

There are zero adoption fees right now. Each adoption will ensure the pets are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and have county license tags. Adopters also receive a free health care certificate that offers a free exam for their pet from participating veterinarians, with a savings up to $500, and a bag of Hill’s Science Diet pet food.

Adoptable dogs sign at Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control
Adoptable dogs sign at Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control

WFLX has been featuring adoptable pets on air but to see all of the adoptable pets Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control has to offer, click here.

The adoption center is open Monday to Friday from noon to 6 p.m., Saturday from noon to 5 p.m., Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control is located at 7100 Belvedere Rd. in West Palm Beach, just west of the Florida Turnpike. For more information, please call (561) 233-1200. No appointment is necessary.

Those struggling to pay for veterinary services or food, and are at risk of losing their pet, help is also available.

Those who can't adopt, can consider fostering a pet. The Foster2Rescue program is a newer program that many said is doing wonders for the animals. For more information, email

To donate items that will make the pets more comfortable, check out the shelter's Amazon Wish List.

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