Milwaukee shelters seek support after surge in surrendered pets

Animal shelters in the area have become overwhelmed with surrendered pets, and it turns out the problem is worldwide.
"We are completely full every minute of every day," said Karen Sparapani, executive director of Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission (MADACC).

MADACC has reached its limit, and so has its executive director. Sparapani has worked at MADACC for the last decade. She takes pride in running MADACC, as a no-kill, stray-holding shelter, but she said that's been taken for granted.

"I’ve had animals chipped to the person bringing them in," said Sparapani. "And they’re like, ‘This is not my dog.'"

The World Animal Foundation said over 6.3 million dogs and cats get surrendered to animal shelters each year. Over at the Wisconsin Humane Society, they received 15 surrendered pets on Thursday alone - with 200 more on the surrender waiting list.

"Every single kennel is full," said Kathy Shillinglaw, the senior director of the Wisconsin Humane Society.

FOX6 News asked both shelter directors where they think the problem is stemming from.

"There's people who can’t keep their animals, and it's not because they were COVID puppies; it's because of the economy," said Sparapani. "Animals can get very expensive." 

"Housing instability, financial instability, and the animals we’re getting are more challenging animals than in the past," Shillinglaw said.

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Wisconsin Humane Society

Both say they know what they signed up for going into animal welfare, but there is something the public can do.

"If you have a spot in your home for a pet, come adopt a dog, come adopt a cat," Shillinglaw said.

"I’m kind of begging everyone involved, owners, other animal welfare groups, other rescues, please help us," said Sparapani. "Help Milwaukee."

Both organizations stress to call and ask the organizations for help and resources before deciding to surrender your pet. For more information and resources, you can go to MADACC or the Wisconsin Humane Society