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DENVER (KDVR) — One of Denver’s largest animal shelters is calling for help as it reaches capacity.

The Dumb Friends League is seeing its highest volume of animals in roughly a decade. Katie Parker, vice president of operations, said they started feeling pressure when they reached 800 animals at their Denver shelter. She said now they’re hovering between 900 and 1,000 animals, depending on the day.

“There are a lot of reasons we talk about, and that we think. It seems like the pandemic caused a lot of scrambling in people’s lives, and chaos. As things are settling down, as people are going back to work, a pet may no longer fit in their life,” Parker said.

Parker said the number of owner surrenders has remained steady. Meanwhile, the number of stray animals coming in has increased.

“We know that during the pandemic there was a significant period of time when spay/neuter was not available,” Parker said. “Especially for cats in our communities, that means a lot of kittens.”

They’re looking for more staff, volunteers and people looking for foster animals. Parker said they’re also asking people to hold off on surrendering their pet unless the situation is urgent.

“If you have a safe place that you can keep that pet for just a couple weeks so we can kind of get a little bit of relief from this pressure and then surrender — that would be a great option right now,” Parker said.

Colorado animal rescue groups ‘scrambling’

The issue is not isolated to Dumb Friends League. Some Colorado rescue groups are desperate to find more foster homes.

“Everybody is scrambling to do whatever they can to save the lives of all of these puppies, dogs, cats — whatever the case may be — and we can’t get fosters,” said Tania Kovar, Director of Paws N Hooves Colorado.

Kovar said fostering is typically a short-term commitment that provides relief for rescues and shelters.

“It can be two weeks, it can be two months or four months. It really depends who you choose to foster. Every rescue is going to have different rules and regulations for what they do,” Kovar said.

Dumb Friends League is getting creative to keep up with the volume of animals. Parker said they’re housing animals together when possible and working to speed up the adoptions process. To encourage adoptions, Dumb Friends League is discounting or waiving certain fees.