Animal rescue stops consumption in the face of overwhelming need, difficulty in adopting | Local News
Crystal Hopson went on vacation for a week and ignored her email.
Hopson is one of the founders of Hartman’s Haven Dog Rescue in Conover. She spends her days trying to solve the growing problem of too many animals and a lack of homes.
Upon returning from vacation, Hopson received more than 100 emails from people seeking rescue animals. Along with the emails, several adopted dogs were being turned away and local shelters had animals that needed to be rescued.
It was too much for her to handle.
“It’s getting completely overwhelming,” she said in tears. “You feel like you’re shoving your way out of the ocean with a teaspoon. People don’t want to do work to keep their pets and instead they try to push their problems onto rescue groups.
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In June, Hopson decided not to take in any more animals. After 12 years of rescue, it was too difficult to continue, she said. Adopting animals became more and more difficult. Without neutering and neutering laws, the number of strays was spiraling out of control, she said.
While leading her rescue, Hopson helped find homes for more than 10,700 dogs and cats at shelters in Catawba, Caldwell, Burke, Alexander and Iredell counties, she said.
Hartman has worked with shelters in some northern states, where neutering and neutering laws have reduced the number of strays. There, the demand for animals to adopt is high, Hopson said. In recent years, other rescues have followed suit, saturating the market in northern states and again making it difficult to find people to adopt animals, Hopson said.
“It’s getting harder and harder to move animals,” she said. Difficulty finding people to adopt animals is a big part of why Hopson stops admission to Hartman’s Haven.
“After 12 years of rescue, it’s almost like you’re suffering from exhaustion,” Hopson said. “I didn’t want to make that decision.”
The shelter still has 14 dogs up for adoption.
Hartman’s Haven rescue efforts are a success, Hopson said.
The rescues are part of the reason the number of animals being euthanized at shelters is declining, said Mark Pettit, assistant director of Catawba County Emergency Services. At the Catawba County Animal Services shelter, the euthanasia rate was about 70 percent in 2010, according to data from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. For the 2020-21 fiscal year, the euthanasia rate was 28%, according to county data.
The decrease is a positive improvement, but without more efforts to neuter and neuter animals, euthanasia will continue, Hopson said.
“I think the biggest help will be to have your pets neutered so that we don’t continually have the overpopulation that we have of puppies and kittens being born and no one wants that,” he said. she declared.
Catawba County works to repair animals that enter the shelter. The county recently hired a full-time vet to manage them.
Hopson redirects his love for animals to spaying and neutering efforts. She plans to set up a fund to help people pay to have their animals repaired if they can’t afford it, and help transport animals if needed.
Hopson also plans to start helping people who can’t afford emergency vet bills, she said.
Ultimately, Hopson sees the only solution to the stray animal problem is to demand that people get their pets fixed, she said. She does not hope that laws will be created.
“We tried to get these laws here, but there’s a mentality in southern states that animals are property, not family members,” she said. And people don’t want to be told what to do with their property.