LAS VEGAS (KLAS)– It is getting harder to drop off a stray or a found dog at The Animal Foundation.
Several rescue groups said appointments get booked up quickly, and can sometimes take days or weeks to bring in animals.
The Animal Foundation’s website said the next available time slot for animal intake would be on Jan. 19.
As of Wednesday afternoon, after 8 News Now reached out to the Animal Foundation about this issue, the website showed openings for Thursday, but still a gap until January.
This left many rescue groups to wonder how this will help save dogs off the streets.
The Animal Foundation is one of the largest shelters in the country, but they are now operating differently than in years past.
People are no longer allowed to drop off dogs they rescued off the streets.
Melanie Shayne is the founder of Doggy Task Force of Las Vegas, and rescuing dogs is her passion.
“Over the last few weeks, we have seen an increase in dogs being dumped in dog parks and tied to polls,” Shayne said.
Earlier this week, her team found a dog but was told by the Animal Foundation to come back in five weeks, so she called Animal Control.
“No one is able to hold dogs that long,” Shayne said. “It took two days for Animal Control to pick up the dog.”
Back in October, the shelter had to limit operations due to the spread of a respiratory illness, which caused a strain on rescue groups. It is the same strain they say they are feeling again.
“I’ve never seen anything or heard of anything like this before,” Bryce Henderson, founder of No Kill Las Vegas said.
Henderson is an animal advocate and he said he is planning on holding a rally against this soon.
“It’s like having a hospital with a trauma center with a five-week waiting period, you really don’t have a trauma then, we really don’t have a shelter.”
The Animal Foundation gets millions of dollars in taxpayer money to operate as an open admissions shelter.
“Waiting five weeks is not an open admissions shelter,” Henderson said.
Henderson claimed it will be close to impossible for a lost pet to be reunited with its owner if the delayed intake appointments continue.
“Imagine if your dog gets out tonight, where are you going to look for it you can’t go to the shelter,” he said.
8 News Now reached out to the county and the city to see if this new intake process was a violation of their contract with the Animal Foundation, and was told it is being looked into.
As for appointments, an official said that people do book and cancel so it opens up time slots.
The Animal Foundation gave the following statement in regard to taking in animals:
“The Animal Foundation is testing a managed intake policy that helps find the best possible outcomes for pets outside of the stressful shelter environment. Lost pets usually reunite with their owners within a few hours if they stay in their neighborhoods. Unfortunately, 80 percent of lost pets who come to The Animal Foundation never find their way home. The Animal Foundation continues to accept an average of 44 pets daily since the implementation of this program.”