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The Humane Society of Tampa Bay is experiencing an overflow, in part due to the cost of keeping pets

There are 600 pets there, which means all the kennels and cages in the Tampa building have a name tag – and a friendly face looking for a new home.

An overabundance of dogs, kittens, hedgehogs, rabbits and snakes is filling the Humane Society of Tampa Bay shelter.

There are 600 pets there, which means all the kennels and cages in the Tampa building have a name tag – and a friendly face looking for a new home.

Regan Blessinger is the marketing and content manager for the shelter. She said, when you add in the pets that are in foster care, the shelter is currently responsible for more than 850 animals.

Although there are several factors for such a high number, Blessinger said a major reason is financial uncertainty for pet owners.

"When the economy is a kind of a question mark, the first thing to go is typically their pets,” she said. “Sometimes it’s ‘feed myself or feed my pet?’ or ‘I am homeless,’ we see that a lot.”

During this time of the year, she added, shelters will receive more cats as it is “kitten season.”

“Most of our fosters currently have underage bottle-fed kittens in their home,” Blessinger said.

Across the bay, Pinellas County Animal Services is waiving fees to encourage adoptions.

Interim Director Jennifer Renner said, although Pinellas is stable in the number of animals in the shelter, construction on their building means limited space.

And the Humane Society of Tampa Bay is taking steps to get more animals adopted, as they will parade some of those up for adoption at St. Pete Pride Saturday, as they’ve done in previous years.

Blessinger said people usually shout “I got my pet there” while they walk.

“Animals don’t care who you love, pets are for everybody,” she said.

To foster an animal, you must be 18 years old or older, have room for a pet and submit an online application. For more information on drop off, adoption and fostering, visit the Humane Society website.

Julia Saad is a WUSF-USF Zimmerman Rush Family Digital News intern for summer 2024.