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'Looking for some relief': Sierra Vista animal shelter adding more kennels to meet growing need

Posted at 5:40 PM, Jul 08, 2024

SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. (KGUN) — The Nancy J Brua Animal Care Center, in Sierra Vista, has 150 animals they are responsible for, including those in foster homes. The growing number of animals in their care, is why the city is investing $2 million into expanding the shelter.

"We've been full for quite some time,” said Animal Control Officer for the City of Sierra Vista, Arleen Garcia. “Even though the numbers seem to stay pretty even year to year, it feels fuller because it takes longer to get them adopted” Garcia said.

The expansion adds 18 more kennels, 14 of which will be for dogs waiting for adoption. The rest will be used as quarantine spaces.

“We are looking for some relief,” Garcia said.

According to Shelter Animal Count, a database of shelter statistics, in May there were more than 7,700 animals taken in by shelters in Arizona. There were just over 6,900 adoptions during that same time frame.

“The shelters are are feeling the hardships of the economy, landlords not accepting certain types of pets, certain size of pets,” she said.

The increase in owner surrenders, in Sierra Vista has caused the shelter to schedule drop offs. Garcia says they are already booked though the rest of the month for owner surrenders, and many of the appointments have more than one dog.

“Adoptions are slower (and) the animals are staying at the shelter longer,” Garcia said. "We are hoping that with this expansion, we don't have to do appointments. I can't promise that because there's always going to be someone, or several folks out there in need of turning in their pets."

The added kennels may seem like a lot, but it’s still not enough for the growing demand.

“If we had those 18 kennels open today, we would be calling everybody who scheduled an appointment to bring in their pet, and we would be full,” she said.

The construction, that started in June, should be done early this fall. Garcia is hoping it will be done by their annual open house in October. In the mean time, Garcia is encouraging the community to look for help before giving up their animal.

“If they are just considering turning in their animal, give us a call," Garcia said. "Let's have a conversation, what behaviors are you seeing what can what advice can we give you.”

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Alexis Ramanjulu is a reporter in Cochise County for KGUN 9. She began her journalism career reporting for the Herald/Review in Sierra Vista, which she also calls home. Share your story ideas with Alexis by emailing alexis.ramanjulu@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook.