When the cold winter rolls in, the staff at the Roice Hurst Humane Society says things really heat up. They say they see more animals dropped off this time of year than any other -- and they're running out of room for them.
With most people pouring their hard earned dollars into the holidays and heating bills during the winter, the Roice Hurst Humane Society says our four-legged friends are being left out as budgets continue to tighten.
The staff says December through February is one of their most hectic times of the year, as people bring them pets they can no longer afford or ones they find wandering in the snow -- all while the staff struggles to figure out where they're going to keep them.
"We always are having to turn away dogs," said Chris Fisher, Business Manager at Roice Hurst. "We just don't have the room."
Fisher says the animals keep coming in faster than the staff can find them new homes. Just Saturday morning, she had to turn four dogs away.
"It's heart wrenching," said Fisher. "It really is heart wrenching. But there's only so much we can do."
At least for now -- with the shelter's financial situation more stable, the Roice Hurst board decided now was the appropriate time to move forward with expanding their building.
"We need a lot more room, so that's why we started this project," said Lana Fergeson, President of the Roice Hurst Humane Society Board.
A new trailer at the front of the shelter replaces the old office, which will provide more space for the shelter's cats and kittens.
"It will probably hold at least thirty more cats," said Fergeson.
The shelter will then use the space vacated by the cats to house smaller dogs, leaving more space for the bigger ones.
"We're opening a whole area for smaller dogs that we haven't had before," said Fergeson. "That will probably open up about four or five more inside kennels at least."
With the winter rush, the board says it is trying to get this first phase of the expansion done by the end of January. Until then, the shelter is asking people to be patient and keep their animals with them for as long as possible.
"Keep on checking back with us daily," said Fisher. "Because we do try to take them in as soon as we can."
The staff says it's seen the worse -- one of their dogs, Doogie, was found with his feet frozen to the ground one year ago. They say the end of January just can't come fast enough.
"Because of our construction, hopefully now we'll be able to take in more," said Fisher.
If you're looking for an easy way to help Roice Hurst expand and take in more animals, the shelter is currently part of an online contest where you can vote it America's favorite animal shelter. The winner of the contest gets $10,000. To vote, click on the link below: