Area animal shelters are battling staff shortages; influx of animals

BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) – Some animal shelters in the Roanoke Valley have faced a double challenge.

“There are usually challenges this time of year, but it’s a bit extreme,” said Stacy Epperson, president of the Friends of Bedford County Animal Shelter.

Between overflow of animals and limited numbers, some animal shelters have their feet full.

“Many facilities are unable to accommodate new animals due to the staff,” she explains. “So we’re not in a position to send as much relief as we usually would.”

Some of these shelters have had to close, switching to appointment-only operations while they manage staff. Epperson said the Bedford County Animal Shelter has made progress in easing its staffing issues.

Much like it has done with many other industries, COVID may also be a factor in increasing the number of animals entering the facility.

“With COVID, so many people have adopted animals because they were home during that time and a lot are going back to work and unfortunately we are seeing animals coming back,” she adds.

According to Epperson, the shelter can hold about 20 dogs at a time.

“Unfortunately, even though the shelter is full, they still have to accommodate animals as this is a county run facility. That said, tough decisions might have to be made. “

She continues to say that the Bedford County Animal Shelter has not had to euthanize any dogs due to the space for more than five years. Epperson also says some animals are boarded because there is no room at the shelter. Through social media and adoption events, staff strive to find these furballs their forever home.

“As the shelter was closed, people had little opportunity to go out and see animals. So our rescue is going to have some of the adoptable pets at Tractor Supply in Bedford. “

This pop-up adoption event will take place on Friday October 1 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Epperson says there should be around 10 animals there, including dogs and cats, kittens included.

“That way people have the chance to just go out and see what’s available instead of having to make an appointment for a particular animal. “

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