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Wake Animal Shelter Cuts Back on Hours, Services Due to Staffing Shortage

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RALEIGH — TheWake County Animal Shelteris facing what many employers are. With the economy as good as it is, it is hard to find employees.

Because of the staffing shortage, the shelter has closed the overnight drop box, where people leave animals to be adopted. The shelter has also shortened its hours because it takes longer for the small staff to clean the cages.

Victor Smith has worked with animals for 14 years. But today, he is working harder than ever.

By 11 a.m., he has cleaned 75 cages. "It's pretty rough," he says. "It's just taking us a whole lot longer to get finished."

Joe Hensley is responsible for processing animals into the shelter. But today, he is helping out Smith. "We've got probably about 79, 80 cats and 100 or so dogs that have to be cleaned, so I'm trying to help out the other person. It's rough for them to do it all."

The shortage has also delayed the shelter's opening. It is now open for only three hours a day, instead of five.

The shortened hours mean less opportunity for the animals to be adopted. "That reduces the traffic flow that goes through the shelter," says shelter director Dicke Sloop. "Therefore, the animals don't get as many people looking at them and trying to adopt them."

Unfortunately, that means some of the animals may have to be put to sleep.

And change may not come soon. Shelter managers say low unemployment in Wake County makes it hard to get and retain workers.

"The job itself is a very stressful job," Sloop says. She says the positions are very physically and emotionally demanding.

The shelter needs to fill four positions. The job of shelter attendant pays $7.84 plus benefits. The shelter also has an immediate need for volunteers. For more information,call (919) 250-1481Monday - Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.

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Amanda Lamb, Reporter
Edward Wilson, Photographer
Julie Moos, Web Editor

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