Cooler temperatures mean different things for different animal shelters across the Killeen area.
While some report increases in shelter populations, others said they see no change and even decreases as warm weather ends and the holiday season approaches.
At the Cen-Tex Humane Society’s Second Chance shelter, volunteer board president George Grammas said November is a routine month for operations.
“I haven’t noticed anything spectacular, but I thought kitten season would never end,” said Grammas, referring to the influx of baby animals many shelters see during spring and summer. “The main thing we want to do now is get blankets and sheets and towels so we can warm up the dogs in the shelter.”
Falling temperatures and inside/outside kennels that are not heated mean shelter dogs need a bit more bedding to keep cozy at night.
The shelter starts requesting donations of bedding items for dogs around this time of year.
“We get plenty of those from the community,” Grammas said. “We’ve just gotta keep ’em warm.”
At the Harker Heights Pet Adoption Center, animal control officers are seeing an increase in both stray pickups and surrenders.
“Since school started back, with the kids in school and parents working, no one has time for animals,” said Dana Ingram, animal control officer. “A lot of times they try to surrender them here. And we have a lot more strays reported because no one’s home to watch (the animals) and they get out of the yard.”
The center usually takes in between 90 and 100 animals per month, but took in 160 in October, Ingram said.
“It gets crowded,” she said. “We work with rescue groups and other shelters.”
More animals haven’t affected the center’s dry food supply much, but they are running low on canned cat and dog food and find themselves going through cat litter very quickly.
Time for repairs
On the opposite side of the population shift, Lampasas Animal Shelter Supervisor Kasey Dressell said November is a slower time of year.
“November’s usually the drop-off of kittens and puppies,” Dressell said. “Usually September is a really high puppy and kitten season, and it starts dropping off when we get closer to Christmas.”
Dressell attributed the drop to cooler temperatures and more animals taking shelter instead of wandering and repopulating.
“It’s good. This is the time of year we do a lot of repairs to the shelter,” Dressell said. “This is also about when we get owner surrenders. Holidays are when it hits the worst, because people don’t know what to do (with their pets) over vacations.”
Fewer animals means more time for shelter upkeep, such as washing blankets, so the shelter may go through detergent a bit faster, but the cost “evens out” when the lower amount of mouths to feed is considered.
The Copperas Cove Animal Shelter reports a different problem: wild animal calls.
“Raccoons, possums, skunks, there have been some calls lately about foxes,” said David Wellington, senior animal control officer. “We get armadillos every once in a while.”
Recently, officers have been working to trap a beaver family that has moved onto the Hills of Cove Golf Course, after trapping another beaver at Copperas Cove High School.
Usually, when a resident calls with a wild animal complaint, animal control will sign out a trap to bait and set. If an animal is caught, an officer will pick it up.
“If it’s not an animal prone to rabies, we relocate them to the countryside,” said Wellington, mentioning it’s mostly raccoons, skunks and foxes that are known carriers of the disease. “When we suspect something has rabies, we send it to Austin.”
Often by the next day, officers will know whether the animal was rabid or not.