WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) — Beaufort County Animal Services is seeking help with the overflow of animals.

Unfortunately, they are having to euthanize some animals more often than usual in order to make space for incoming animals. That is one part of the job that Animal Services Manager Melanie Sawyer says is very difficult.

“We have to make that decision of who has to be euthanized. And it’s a tough decision. It’s not something we look forward to … We put it off as long as we possibly can,” said Sawyer.

She said that there are many different reasons that so many dogs are brought to the shelter now.

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“A lot of people want to blame it on COVID adoptions. I say it’s the COVID adoptions, backyard breeding, just people not being responsible,” said Sawyer.

She also said that inflation could be playing a role in the high volume of dogs taken in at the shelter. Not having pets spayed and neutered has also contributed to the large number.

“Spay and neuter, it’s simple. Spay and neuter. There are a lot of programs in the county and in surrounding counties where you can get assistance to spay and neuter the animals,” said Sawyer.

Beaufort County Animal Services operates as a shelter but also goes out to pick dogs up. Sawyer said that makes a difference in the way the staff gets attached to the animals.

“The hardest thing in the world to do is to go pick up an animal from a bad situation, bring it to the shelter, fall in love with it and then turn around and have to euthanize it,” Sawyer said. “We dread the day that we have to come in here and put down an animal that we’re just absolutely head over heels in love with.”

It is important to be prepared for adoption. Sawyer emphasized anyone interested in adopting is a process even after leaving the shelter. There is an adjustment period for animals once they get into a new home.

“Make sure you are ready for the animal that you adopt. Especially puppies. It’s gonna take a while and when you get an animal from the shelter it’s gonna take a while for the animal to decompress,” said Sawyer.

The adoption fee at the facility for adult dogs is $85, puppies are $75, cats are $65 and kittens are $55. Adoption fees include spay, neuter, appropriate vaccines and flea treatments.

“Really what we want people to understand is that there are options. There’s help out there. We can help you get your animals spayed and neutered. Honestly, that’s really what’s going to be the key to all of this,” said Sawyer.