Animal Shelter in Terryville Sees Increased Pet Abandonment, Calls for Help

Pet owners are leaving their animals behind at the Animal Rescue Foundation in Terryville.

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At Animal Rescue Foundation in Terryville, employees field five to six calls a day of people looking to surrender their dogs. That's despite the facility being at full capacity.

"We have dogs that are just tossed over our fence," said ARF Vice President Holly Goodwin.

Goodwin says this comes after a big boom in adoption during the pandemic. Now, she's noticing these animals are coming back.

"Every one of our kennels is full. So, people call us and ask for help, but unfortunately, I don't have the space. We have a waitlist," said Goodwin.

However, some pet owners will just leave them behind on the property. It's a problem plaguing shelters and pounds around the state. Goodwin says some sites get more than 20 calls a day of people asking for help. 

But one pet owner didn't ask. Surveillance footage captured him last week, carrying his dog to the Terryville shelter's fence. Seconds later, he is seen driving away without it.

"Millie was discarded over the fence on the property," said Jessica Olmstead, of Watertown.

Olmstead is now fostering a home for Millie, who is blind, diabetic, and suffering from pancreatitis. 

"To give forward to an animal in need and make sure they live the life they were deserved and destined to live," said Olmstead.

The shelter is supporting Millie's vet care, which is costing more than $2,000. But in addition to space, money to nurse the animals back to health is another issue. 

"This is the fullest we've been, which is costly for us. We were at seven or eight dogs a few weeks ago and we've doubled that in the last couple weeks," said Goodwin.

Sarah Kelleher has been at ARF for a little more than a year. There, she spends eight hours a week caring for rescue cats and says there is a great need for volunteers.

"It's really stuff that anybody can do, it's very easy. It would take as little to 2 to 2.5 hours a week. That is the minimum to come in and help out," said Kelleher.

In the last week of NBC and Telemundo's effort to Clear the Shelters, a nationwide campaign to support local rescue animals throughout the month of August, ARF is asking families to adopt or donate what they can.

There will also be an open house to meet the animals at ARF from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. this Sunday.

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