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DENVER (KDVR) — Dumb Friends League shelters across Colorado have had to make changes to help handle the recent drastic increase of owners surrendering pets.

“This summer has really been a challenge with the number of intakes we have,” Courtney Knerr, the social media specialist at Denver Dumb Friends League, said.

They explained a few months ago that the shelters had to close intake fully until more adoptions happened. Knerr said they then allowed walk-ins again which eventually led to a large surge of pets being brought in, and ultimately led the shelters to shift to an appointment only option.

“Its a concern throughout the city. Shelters are really overwhelmed with their dog populations, it’s not unique to us,” Knerr said.

Knerr said they don’t remember the last time they had to close intake prior to this. So far this fiscal year, the total animals taken in were 2,169, with 854 of those being strays. They said a lot of the intakes are dogs.

What is the reason why so many surrender? Knerr said the pandemic is still playing a hand.

“I don’t know why its surging right now, I think a lot of people just need support with their pets,” Knerr said.

At all three DFL shelters, appointments are required to surrender. Knerr said the Denver DFL and Castle Rock DFL have appointments available.

“The San Luis Valley shelter is waiting to schedule appointments until next Thursday when we can hopefully transfer some animals out,” Knerr said.

They said large dogs are filing most of the spaces.

Right now, throughout all three shelters there are 100 dogs ready to go to a forever home today. But behind the scenes, there are hundreds more waiting to get to the front spots to be able to be seen to be adopted.

“In terms of dog capacity, it’s around 450 to 500. Right now, we’re at the 400 mark which means we need to start getting animals to their homes,” Knerr said.

Right now, while participating in the national Clear the Shelters event, all dogs over a year old have $100 off their adoption price.

“If you’ve been considering adopting, right now is the time,” Knerr said.

The shelter also said if right now isn’t a good time to adopt you can also volunteer or donate.

For more information on the shelters, visit their website.