MOLINE, Ill. — Rock Island County Animal Care & Control's shelter is over capacity, with almost 120 dogs in a kennel designed for 60.
"We're been open for 17 years and this is the first time we've had all of our kennels full to the point we're using crates," operations manager Samantha Wiley said.
Wiley added that the increase comes from a variety of issues, but the two main ones being a larger stray population and owners struggling to keep pets.
"Definitely a lot of strays — our animal control officers are working overtime out there," she said. "And a lot of it is, people got dogs during the COVID era, and now they're back to work. They don't think it's fair to their dog to not be home as often as before."
To help the dogs relax, Rock Island High School's cross country team visited to run alongside them.
"I always like these days," runner Lukas Heiny said. "It's always fun because they kind of pull you along [the leash]... and it's bonding time, just so much fun to do."
Coach Jarrim Williams got the team to volunteer starting in 2019, the athletes visiting every month or so during the summer time.
"I know some of them have gone home and told their parents that there's some dogs available, so it's really cool," William said. "It's rewarding as their coach to kind of help them do things for others."
Wiley is encouraging pet lovers to spay and neuter their animals, and for those wanting to adopt, to think carefully as to avoid turning in the animal only after a few years. "Do some research do some hard, hardcore thinking as to whether I'm willing to commit the lifetime of this pet," she said.
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