LINCOLN COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Animal shelters in rural counties are being overrun as owners are surrendering their pets because they can't afford them anymore.
Inside the Lincoln County Animal Shelter, most of the animals currently housed were surrendered by their owners in 2022.
"When we ask them why they bring their animals in it's just 'Oh well, it's doing this, and it's doing that'. They can't handle it no more," said shelter employee Hunter Goodin.
He and his sister Brittany Goodin said of the 395 animals brought in so far in 2022, 152 were surrendered by their owner.
Only 48 have been adopted. The majority were relocated to bigger shelters to make room for new intakes.
"They're just tired of paying for them. Everything has increased in price. Just our local vets have gone up about 5 to 10 percent in prices alone," said Hunter.
The shelter is the only one responsible for any strays and rescues reported in all 36 neighborhoods in the county.
The Goodins say the price of gas alone makes it harder to reach certain rescue areas.
"Just being a small shelter, we don't get the same donations that these big places usually do," said Brittany.
Similarly, Garrard County Animal Shelter Director Brittany Fain has seen a 50% increase in surrenders from 2020 to 2021.
"It is a very rough hard for us rural shelters right now. That's for sure," said Fain.
With adoption numbers not keeping up with intakes, Fain fears employees may have to explore lethal solutions.
"That puts us in line to possibly have to euthanize pets, and that's not what we want," Fain explained.
Lincoln County employees have paused owner surrenders for the foreseeable future.
Garrard County's cat shelter remains at capacity.
If you would like to adopt or donate supplies, you can find more information on the shelters' Facebook pages.