CARE Humane Society’s current overpopulation crisis requires rapid and efficient support from the Auburn-Opelika community to save lives. The shelter has tried every in-house solution to encourage adoptions, help individuals keep their pets, plead for fosters and offer people who find stray pets supplies to hold them temporarily.  

Despite these measures, the humane society has still run out of room.

From July 1-7, the shelter took in 59 animals. With the intake numbers skyrocketing and adoption rates dwindling, CARE is running out of space to safely house every animal that enters their doors. 

“Even if adoptions are stagnant, we’re still getting new pets,” said CARE Director of Development Jenny Warren. “If we’re not getting fosters, then we’ll have to start making those tough calls.”

CARE is a no-kill shelter, but many people do not understand the true definition of the term “no kill.” 

“No kill status is basically any pet shelter that maintains the 90% live release rate, but we can’t maintain it if we don’t have fosters and adoptions,” Warren explained. 

CARE Health Manager Josh Mitchell stated that the facility and staff can comfortably take care of 125 animals. The shelter currently is responsible for 256 total pets: 121 cats and 135 dogs. This number accounts for in-house animals and those in foster care.

CARE still aims to provide the essentials for fostered pets, like medical care, towels and food. 

“Even though we can fit 125 safely, it’s not just about the animals,” Mitchell said. “It’s about what the staff can handle. Once we go beyond that, that’s when you start to see a decline mentally and medically.”

The nonprofit is asking for community support to stop the overflow of animals, whether it’s by fostering, donating supplies or taking care of their own animals. 

“This is a community problem,” Warren said.  

Local pets not being spayed and neutered creates an overflow of stray or forgotten animals being brought to the shelter. If the unspayed mother isn’t properly vaccinated or cared for, the puppies’ and kittens’ survival rates plummet.

CARE’s operation is funded by grants. The shelter provides low-cost spay/neuter programs for Lee County residents. Those interested in the service will need to provide proof of residency (current utility bill), proof of household income (current Federal tax return), photo ID  and phone number. Based on the participant’s income level, surgery fees are as low as $5 for cats, $10 for dogs. If the animal is not up to date on shots, your pet will also get a rabies vaccination for an additional $12.

“I wish people would educate themselves more on the ins and outs of shelter operations,” Warren said. “If they want to do a behind the scenes shelter tour to learn everything from intake to adoption, they can schedule a tour with me.”

This problem isn’t new. In fact, Mitchell has seen this crisis happen before.

“A couple years ago, between Friday and Saturday, we had 52 intakes,” he said. “One lady alone brought 19 cats in a 36-inch wire crate. She went around a trailer park and just started putting them in a carrier.”

For those wanting to help support CARE during this time, there are many different aspects of need. 

Until the end of July, the nonprofit is participating in BISSELL Pet Foundation’s reduced-fee adoption event. Adoption fees will be $50 or less; this is also available for any out- of-county or out-of-state adoptions.

CARE has a handful of dogs that have been at the shelter for a prolonged period of time. These animals are highlighted in our Lonely Hearts Club. Tiana, an almost 5-year-old mixed breed, has been at the shelter for almost a full year. 

In the club, all animals have been at CARE for over 257+ days. All dogs in the Lonely Heart Club have reduced adoption fees of $25 to help find their forever homes.

“If you can’t foster or adopt, donate. It doesn’t have to be money; it can be supplies,” Warren said. “If you can’t donate, spread awareness.”

Those wanting to donate money can do so on CARE’s official website,

Needed supplies can be found at CARE Humane Society’s website, Amazon Wishlist or Chewy Wishlist.

The shelter wants to remind people to be mindful and help create a safe, loving environment for their furry friends.

“We have to be a part of the solution, not the problem,” Warren said. CARE, formerly known as the Lee County Humane Society, is located at 1140 Ware Drive in Auburn and is open to the public for adoptions Tuesday to Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m.