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An overcrowded KC Pet Project packed with record number of stray dogs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Dogs, dogs and more dogs keep piling into KC Pet Project's animal shelter on Raytown Road.

In the past two months, a record number of strays have come through the doors of the Jackson County no-kill shelter.

"We are trying our very best to move as fast as we can," says Tori Fugate, spokesperson at KC Pet Project.

However, morning, noon and night countless citizens and Kansas City animal control officers keep dropping off the lost pit bulls, chows and other dogs in droves at the shelter.

"It does feel like some days we're working on a hamster wheel," said Fugate, who just wants the exhausting wheel to stop.

"We're working hard with rescue partners, trying to move animals out of here, trying to get pets into foster homes and trying to get pets adopted," Fugate said. "It's all of it. Just working really hard to save these lives here."

Last month KC Pet Project took in nearly 1,000 new animals. That's the highest number they've ever received during the month of April since taking over the KC animal shelter seven years ago.

Moreover, in the last past two weeks, another record breaker: Almost 500 strays have ended up at the shelter.

Typically, stray dogs that have taken to KC Pet Project must stay there at least five days in case their owners want to reclaim them.

"You will see dogs, you know, that are stacked in kennels on top of each other it feels like, and there are a lot of dogs in one room," Fugate said. "It's a very loud, stressful environment for them, which is why we try to move them out of here as quickly as we can. We typically see these kind of numbers during the summer -- not this early."

"Just dogs, that's all I see. You'll find most of them running loose," said Keresa Hurst with Kansas City Animal Control.

They're running loose all over Kansas City neighborhoods, Hurst said.

"I haven't seen it this bad during the 13 years I've been here," she said. "This is totally ridiculous. I mean to where they're literally busting out of the seams."

A majority of the wayward, adult dogs are not micro-chipped.

"Nobody's coming to look for them. I don't really know why or really why this explosion has happened," Fugate said. "This is a great cause for concern that we're actually gonna see one of the worst summers for in-take that we've ever seen. Until there are community programs in place like return-to-owner in the field and really stepping up to help people with like micro-chipping and licensing, it feels like an uphill battle."

On Tuesday, 15-year-old Felicia Lawrence found Max, a husky, while walking home from school in Independence. She and her mom took the lost dog to the overcrowded animal shelter.

"He has a chip, and I'm very happy because now I can return him to his owner. When a dog can be reunited with it's owner, it's very special," Felicia said.

Meanwhile, on Memorial Day, the KC Pet Project will have another big, adoption day event.

The workers hope at that time dogs that haven't been claimed by their owners will get placed into foster homes or adopted, giving the shelter's workers some relief.

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