The Matanuska-Susitna Borough Animal Shelter has created a waitlist for owner-surrendered pets because the center is overcrowded.

There is an excess of dogs and kittens up for adoption right now, as well as adult cats looking for good homes.

Animal Care Manager Kirsten Vesel says that, with budget cuts on the horizon, the facility is getting creative with the way it operates.

Animal levels vary drastically from month to month with 200 to 350 animals at the shelter at any given time. About a quarter of those are surrendered by owners, according to Vesel.

The shelter isn't refusing to take owner-surrendered pets, they’re just asking people to wait a few days until staff can place some of the animals they have up for adoption.

“If people can wait and be patient with us, it allows us to take better care of the animals that we have until we get some adoptions,” Vesel says.

One concern she has is about the shelter's 23 employees who work in shifts to cover the 24/7 operations.

“Shelter staff are exhausted," she says. "I’m worried about burnout. Those types of things are a result of having too many animals.”

Other rescue groups have reached out to the animal shelter after staff posted alerts on social media that they were at capacity.

“We’ve been surprised by the amount of community support. Overall, people have been really understanding so that’s a relief for me and the staff,” Vesel says.

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