BURGAW, NC (WWAY) -- Old man winter has made an early visit to the Cape Fear. That's bad news for the Pender County Animal Shelter, where there are too many dogs outside and not enough houses to keep them out of the cold.
With nearly 80 dogs at the shelter, and 60 of them outside, many are left without a place to keep warm.
A recent inspection by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture found the shelter was in violation for not having enough warm shelter for every dog living outside.
"We are full. We are at the limit," shelter manager Darlene Clewis said. "I mean, to bring animals in, something has to go out."
Space isn't the main issue. There are 23 kennels inside and 40 kennels outside. Each is spacious enough to hold two large adult dogs, but with the colder weather, each dog has to have its own house.
Clewis has always dealt with overcrowding issues, but she says there has been an increase in dogs coming into the shelter, and a decrease in animals adopted. The main issue, she says is people are not taking the time to spay and neuter their pets.
"A couple weeks ago, within 45 minutes, I had 23 puppies come through the front door," Clewis said. "Twenty-three puppies, three litters, and that could've been prevented if the people would have had the animals spayed or neutered."
Clewis says the shelter needs 40 more dog houses. After hearing about the shortage, William Dowdy brought over an old dog house he had at home.
"It's cold outside. We've got dogs over there. They keep them in the house. These don't have a house, and I guess they have one now," Dowdy said.
If you donate a dog house, Clewis recommends it be made out of heavy-duty plastic, so its easier to sanitize. Friends of the Shelter can even pick them up for you. Just call (910) 297-5813. You can also send a donation or check to Friends of the Shelter, PO Box 1005, Hampstead, NC 28443.
Also, you can drop dog houses off at the Pender County Animal Shelter at 3280 New Savannah Road in Burgaw.