‘Quit buying from backyard breeders’: EKY animal shelter dealing with severe overcrowding

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Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 5:38 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - The Kentucky River Regional Animal Shelter is dealing with the issue of overcrowding like many other shelters across the nation.

President of the Kentucky River Regional Animal Shelter, Tony Vaughn said the shelter is supposed to hold 150 animals comfortably.

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However, every two weeks the shelter takes in about 200 new animals with only approximately 87 of those animals being sent out with rescue groups.

That means that nearly 113 new animals are brought into the shelter every two weeks.

KRRAS staff is reaching out to animal shelters as far as New York to help with overcrowding. However, Vaughn said that is not a long-term solution.

“The key to it and I am sure you have heard it before is spay and neuter, and quit buying from backyard breeders,” said Vaughn. “You know if you are reputable and want to do this for a living. I get it, I have friends who actually do stuff like that, but they take care of their animals. They are not in bad circumstances, they’re not in the backyards.”

Vaughn also said that people are bringing animals to the shelter for all of the wrong reasons.

“A momma dog was brought in, and I could tell she had just finished nursing her puppies. So, they kept the puppies to sell and turned the momma in because she was no longer viable as an income source, and we have to stop that,” he said.

Working alongside law enforcement in the area Vaughn added that he hopes to see some form of legislation head to Frankfort.

“If we will start fining some of these people who have them in situations, they don’t need to be living in. If we start seeing more court cases on abuse and we deter people from doing these types of things then we might be able to turn a quarter on it on that end of it,” he said.

Vaughn explained that he is proud of the animal shelter staff and said that they work beyond the hours they are paid. Unlike a common perception, he said the shelters are not always the problem.

“We get all kinds of complaints about y’all could do this, y’all should do this. Yeah, we are but come down and do it and help us. Come down and walk a dog, bring a brand of food that we need,” he said.

There are multiple ways to help the Kentucky River Regional Animal Shelter. Vaughn said the shelter is always in need of pet food.

The dogs and cats both eat the Purina brand to refrain from constant food changes and upset stomachs.

The shelter staff ask that if you purchase Purina cat food buy the kind without red dye due to various allergies.

Volunteers are always needed to walk the dogs as well as fosters to help curb the number of overcrowded kennels.

The shelters Facebook page is linked here.