HOUSTON - To describe Fort Bend County Animal Services as overcrowded would be a huge understatement.
"We know this is throughout the country," said shelter Director Rene Vasquez, "All shelters are extremely full a lot of shelters are making difficult decisions."
And the Fort Bend County shelter could have to make its most difficult decision in years. Euthanize to make space.
For more than five years, Fort Bend County Animal Services has touted a 90 percent live release rate.
"We've been successful in getting animals out any which way we can think of whether it's rescue, transport, adoption," Vasquez said.
What the shelter is seeing now is unprecedented.
All the kennels are full, many with two dogs. Pop-up crates line the hallways and fill offices.
"We can house around 90 or so dogs," said Vasquez. "Today we have 232 dogs, so we are 250 percent over capacity."
The record-breaking number of dogs is taxing for staff.
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"We're trying to figure out where do we put this one," Vasquez said. "When they're in the black crates you've got to make sure you keep exercising them and getting them out as well."
The shelter is full of great dogs. Big, small, and every pup is free.
Some of the dogs have been at the shelter for more than a year.
"They need to get in people's loving homes, not live in a shelter for the rest of their lives," said Vasquez.
All dogs are spayed or neutered, microchipped, and vetted.
"When I became the director about eight years ago that's what we've been striving for to save them all," Vasquez said.
But for the first time in more than five years, the shelter might have to euthanize some of these dogs just to make space.
"It's difficult it really is," said Vasquez "They're not just numbers, They're lives to us."
Read more on the Fort Bend County Animal Services by clicking here.