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Overcrowding means Memphis animal shelter may have to euthanize dogs

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It's a matter of life or death for hundreds of animals.

The Memphis animal shelter is sending out a desperate plea for help, calling on the public to help save more than 200 dogs because it's out of space.

Due to a nearly 40% increase in intake, there are more dogs than usual in need of being adopted. The animal shelter is relying on the community to step up so they don't have to use euthanasia on any of these animals.

"We saw it climb at a level we're not used to and really it caught us off guard," said Alexis Pugh, director of Memphis Animal Services.

Because of that drastic increase, there are urgent stickers outside of many of the kennels. It means those dogs are at the top of the list for euthanasia.

"Because of how full we are, the chance of animals going to the euthanasia room for space is real," Pugh said. "And it's what happening and what makes us cry at night, and it's what hurts us as a team, and it's why we need the community to come out so we don`t have to do that."

Mallory Vachan was helping with the problem Friday by adopting one of those dogs.

"It makes me really happy," Vachan said. "I'm really happy I'm going to be able to give a home to a dog, and be able to give her the love, attention that she deserves as much as all the other dogs do."

Now the shelter hopes others will also come out and do the same over the long holiday weekend.

"I know a lot of people want to wait until after a holiday," Pugh said, "but these pets can't wait. We are so full, we can't wait for Memorial Day to pass and it to be convenient."

The shelter will have to begin euthanizing animals as early as Saturday if there are no significant changes.

It's running a $19 adoption special to encourage more people to come out.

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