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Report: Westport Closing Prompts Animal Dumping

Cats and dogs are being dumped in lower Fairfield County as the Connecticut Humane Society’s Westport shelter remains closed for renovation, local animal control officials and advocates say, according to today’s The Advocate of Stamford/Norwalk.

The renovated Westport shelter will be able to hold 300 animals and offer improved veterinary facilities, said Cheryl Rice, a Humane Society spokeswoman in Newington. The Westport shelter is scheduled to reopen this summer, she said.

The Humane Society, a private nonprofit organization based in Newington, operates shelters in Newington, Bethany and Waterford, which are too distant to accept pets from Stamford and Greenwich, animal control workers said.

Several animal control officials and welfare groups in lower Fairfield County said they are struggling to keep up with increased demand to accept abandoned pets, the newspaper said.

The number of abandoned cats and dogs has increased in Greenwich, said Greenwich Animal Control Officer Allyson Halm. She believes it is the result of the Westport closing.

“It has put a pressure on more Fairfield County agencies to accept more kinds of animals,” she said.

Many owners are dumping animals, believing they will be rescued, Halm said.

Animal control officers in Stamford say the Westport shelter’s closing has led to more phone calls from owners seeking to surrender their animals.

Local cat rescue groups also have been swamped, said Lynn DellaBianca, an animal control officer in Stamford.

Shelters are trying to make up for the temporary loss of the Westport facility. Kennel space at Adopt-A-Dog in Armonk, N.Y., is at capacity or more with dogs and cats, said Marsha Biggar, Adopt-A Dog’s adoption director.

“I could fill the kennel three times and still have animals I have to turn away,” she said.

Still, the group found room for three small dogs from the Stamford pound this week to ease crowding there, Biggar said.

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