CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – The Clay County Animal Care and Control is at full capacity after taking in 45 animals Tuesday, including three-dozen dogs and cats from an overwhelmed owner.
The shelter was contacted by a local woman who needed to hand over 36 dogs and cats. Christina Sutherin, the director of Clay County Animal Care and Control, explained that the woman had good intentions -- fostering animals from rescues, and taking in stays and other pets abandoned by neighbors.
"She was really trying to do the right thing, and in her mind, keep them out of Animal Control, where she was certain they were going to be euthanized," explained Sutherin. "So it took educating her into what animal control does, what we are all about."
The owner said she was spending $50 every two days on dog food alone. In a heartbreaking letter to the animals, the owner wrote:
"My dearest babies, Never in my life have I felt like this. I always wanted to give you all the love and care I could. I don't know what went wrong. Please, each and everyone of you, this is not because of you, or that you don't match the carpet, or that I want another baby, etc... I am no longer able to care for you. I love you all with my heart and soul. I will never be the same."
The shelter's staff spent hours on Tuesday transporting the 36 animals from her home to the shelter and then evaluating them, including a dog named Pogo, who's in good condition and now ready to find a new home.
Sutherin said they have a live-release rate of 96 percent -- with the intentions of saving every animal.
Staff at Clay County Animal Care and Control said they have no plans to euthanized any of the animals they took in, but they do need the public's help.
As of Wednesday, the shelter had 91 dogs with only 79 kennels. The shelter welcomes any families looking to adopt or animal rescue organizations to help find the animals a forever home.
Most of the animals are in great condition. Some have minor medical issues, like ear infections or dental tartar. Others are even trained.
"Our hearts break because we feel for these people. The intentions are good," Sutherin said. "We were relieved when we got out there and saw the condition they were in because we knew everything was just going to be minor compared to what it could have been if she let it go on any longer."
Adoptions are $20, but people can also foster animals. For more information, check out the Clay County Animal Care and Control website, call the shelter at 904-269-6342 or visit the shelter at 3984 State Road 16 West, Green Cove Springs, FL 32043.