Orange County Animal Services is a county animal shelter funded by taxpayers. Their role is to ensure a safe place for Orange County lost and homeless Pets. In recent weeks the shelter has announced that it is nearing capacity for dogs and cats and need help from the public, but a quick look at their website tells a different story. More than a year ago, Covid-19 shut down the entire country. After several months of shutdowns, by last summer the state of Florida re-opened with some mask and occupancy mandates, Since then, the economy has been thriving and the state has gotten back to business, but not the county shelter.
With Covid vaccinations widely available and positive rates continuing to decline, Orange County businesses like local restaurants and theme parks are busy with crowds of customers, but the county shelter continues to be closed to the public, allowing only a small trickle of prospective adopters through their doors to find a furry friend by way of a difficult and limited appointment only system.
If the shelter is overcrowded and the animals are suffering because adopters can’t gain access to the shelter to adopt them, and Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted for quite some time now, why isn’t the shelter getting back to business like the rest of the state and letting these poor animals find new homes? The easiest solution seems to be to reopen to the public and allow the dogs and cats languishing in those concrete cages the opportunity to find homes, but instead, they are making claims to the press that they are overcrowded while remaining closed to the general public. WHY?
It turns out, shelter management has been quietly pushing for taxpayer funding to build a bigger shelter. The proposed new shelter is set to be 70,000 square feet in size at a cost of 34 million dollars. And a bigger shelter requires a bigger budget for things like pay raises for the management and staff. If the shelter isn’t overcrowded with homeless pets, there would be no way to justify asking taxpayers to spend 34 million dollars to build an extravagant new shelter. That is 34 million taxpayer dollars and 34 million reasons to push the illusion that they need more space to operate. In addition, almost directly across the road, sits a large privately run animal shelter which operates two private pet shelters in the area. The Pet Alliance, actually has a history of importing dogs and puppies from other areas to fill their cages.