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Dickinson, Bismarck animal shelters and rescues are full of cats

Animal shelters and animal rescues in Dickinson and Bismarck are nearly completely filled up with cats. Michele Thompson, supervisor of the Dickinson animal shelter, said the shelter has been completely full for about a week now. There are multip...

Michele Thompson, supervisor of the Dickinson animal shelter, said the shelter has been completely full for about a week now. Sydney Mook / Forum News Service
Michele Thompson, supervisor of the Dickinson animal shelter, said the shelter has been completely full for about a week now. (Sydney Mook / The Dickinson Press)

Animal shelters and animal rescues in Dickinson and Bismarck are nearly completely filled up with cats.

Michele Thompson, supervisor of the Dickinson animal shelter, said the shelter has been completely full for about a week now. There are multiple reasons why they are seeing so many cats right now, including lack of knowledge of cat leash laws, increased trapping and abandonment, among other reasons, she said.

"I think that (not spaying and neutering) is a big component of it," said Thompson, who has been the shelter supervisor since May. "A lot of people don't realize that dogs and cats are sexually mature at six months of age, so when little Fluffy or little Max starts spraying or caterwauling at six months they don't know what to do, so they just kick the cat outside."

Currently the shelter has two cats with litters of kittens and about 10 other cats that are waiting to be claimed or adopted. The rescues in town are full of cats, as well. Dana Becker said the shelter will do everything they can to not euthanize the animals.

"If people have been thinking about making a cat a part of their life, please consider adopting," she said.

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Becker said volunteers play a major role at the shelter by helping to clean the cages as well as walk and play with the animals If people want to become a volunteer, Becker said they can come into the shelter on Energy Drive and fill out an application.

If people are interested in adopting an animal from the shelter, they can pick up an application at the shelter or contact the shelter on Facebook.

Julie Schirado with Furry Friends Rockin' Rescue in Bismarck-Mandan estimated that the three rescues in Bismarck, Kitty City, Central Dakota Humane Society and Furry Friends, each have close to 100 cats in either foster homes or shelters right now.

Furry Friends started in 2015, and Schirado said they've been maxed out every year around kitten season.

"I don't know whether it's because rescues and shelters have become more prominent or because technology and Facebook allows us to move animals around so much faster and around so much more and people are more aware of the problem," she said. "I wish I knew what it was. I think it's a little bit of everything."

Sue Buchholz has been with the Central Dakota Humane Society in Bismarck-Mandan since 1994 and said they have almost always been full with cats. The CDHS is a no-kill shelter and while they are constantly adopting cats out of the shelter, Buchholz said it's hard to keep up with the intake.

"We can't seem to adopt our way out of the pet overpopulation problem," she said. "I think people have just got to spay and neuter their animals and stop there being so many."

The Humane Society houses between 60 and 75 at any time; they also have about 35-40 animals that are in foster homes.

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"It seems like everybody's swamped," Buchholz said. "Everybody's busy. ... Unfortunately, I think we could be a kill facility and still always be full."

Schirado, Buchholz and Thompson said one of the most important things people can do to help the problem is to spay and neuter their animals. They acknowledged that spaying, neutering and vaccinating animals can be expensive, but it also helps prevent problems down the road.

"Two cats, a male and a female, can turn into thousands before you and I even turn another two years older," Schirado said. "Two turns into four, which turns into eight, which turns into 16, which turns into 32. ... The most important things people can do is to fix your kittens. Please fix your cats so the rest of us don't have to work so hard."

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