Memphis Animal Services pleads for adopters as shelter reaches capacity

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Animal Services is begging people to adopt after a surge in dogs and cats filled every kennel.

“We’re literally talking about life and death here," MAS Director Alexis Pugh said. "There are animals in this building that may not make it out alive if our community doesn’t step up and walk through these doors.”

Pugh says the shelter always sees more animals coming in during the summer months, but this year, the situation is even more dire. They’re seeing a 30 percent increase, leaving the shelter overcrowded and out of kennels. That's why MAS staff posted an SOS on Facebook Saturday morning, urging people to adopt.

“There are just so many of them in there," Joe Lawless said.

He and his wife Brandy saw the shelter's plea for help, and rushed in to see what they could do.

“It’s sad to see all the dogs that don’t have a place to be and they’re just — I mean if you look at the dates, some of them have been here for weeks and some of them just got here today and they’re scared and it’s tough," Lawless said.

Through next weekend, people can name their own adoption price, which MAS hopes will bring more people in and get more dogs out.

“We all need to come together to solve that problem so that it doesn’t become the responsibility of the shelter to put these animals to sleep – animals that are nice, adoptable, friendly animals," Pugh said.

And if you can’t adopt, fostering helps free up space, too. Or you can take a pup on a field trip, showing potential adopters how they behave and possibly saving a life.

“I mean, it’s heartbreaking. It’s tough. If we had 1,000 acres, we’d just take ‘em all home, right?” Lawless said. “I’ll tell you what, no matter what we give to them, they give more to us, I believe.”

Last year, Pugh says MAS took in fewer than 9,000 animals. She says they're on track to take in more than 11,000 this year.

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