Animal rescues see uptick during holiday season

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- For the past three weeks, Tammy Graves has had her hands full, taking in animals from local shelters and from owners giving them away.

"They're just continuing to bring them,” she said. “There's been no slow down."

Graves is president of the Haley Graves Foundation, an animal rescue in Guilford County.

Every year, she sees the same pattern right before the holidays.

"People come to the shelter and say ‘We're going to Cancun for the holidays and I don't want to board my cats so we'll just get a new one when we come back,'" Graves said.

She says people are surrendering their pets for holiday travel or to have money for holiday shopping.

"They think that they are just disposable," she said.

Graves normally gets about 60 emails a week about animals that need rescue, but within the past week, she says that number has doubled to about 120.

"We're running out of resources,” Graves said. “We're running out of foster homes, we're running out of everything."

Alison Schwartz is seeing the same thing.

“There are a lot of excuses at this time of year to be able to get rid of the animals," said Schwartz, a board member of Almost Home Dachshund Rescue Society.

She's seen a 25 to 30 percent spike in animals needing rescue this month.

"It's always overwhelming to open your inbox and come across animals that you know you can't help," Schwartz said.

The Davidson County Animal Shelter has also seen a 15 to 20 percent spike.

Graves says the hardest part is knowing the animals they can't rescue will likely be put down.

"It is not my fault,” Graves said. “It is not that shelter's fault, but we have got to do better for these animals."

Friends of Guilford County Animals has a list of resources on its Facebook page.

Information on low-cost spay and neuter programs and pet food pantries are listed on the site.