PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Many families that added pets during pandemic lockdowns later determined they could no longer afford their four-legged friends. As a result, the Portsmouth Humane Society and shelters across the country are filled beyond capacity.

“We are about eight cages over capacity, which means we have no additional caging to put dogs in their crates,” said Executive Director Dyanna Uchiek.

According to the Zebra database, roughly 2.7 million dogs and cats are killed yearly because shelters are full.

Because the Humane Society is under contract with Portsmouth Animal Control, it must take in animals from authorities.

“That means that stray animals coming in, or people who need to surrender their dogs for emergency situations, are going to put additional strain on our shelter,” Uchiek said.

Regina Mobley: What is your pitch to the community?

Dyanna Uchiek: I would like to challenge the community to take 20 dogs out of my shelter before the end of the day on Sunday. We want to see 20 dogs leave our shelter this weekend so that way on Monday morning, we are going to be below capacity and have the flexibility to serve the pets that are in most desperate need of sheltering.

Uchiek added that if the community does not respond, the shelter will begin the process of euthanizing animals, starting with dogs that have a history of biting people.

More information

If you decide to adopt, the Society offers a package of assistance, including free spay/neuter services and up-to-date vaccinations. For more information or if you want to serve as a volunteer call 757-397-6004.