Noranna Nielsen, animal control officer at Mansfield Animal Control, said peak times for the Mansfield Animal Shelter start in the warmer seasons, especially as students graduate in May.
“When the temperature goes down, we have less animals,” Nielsen said. “This makes sense because people don’t take their pets out as much. When it gets warmer it immediately picks up.”
In the springtime, owners like to take their dogs out and along for trips, making them more vulnerable to ending up at the animal shelter, Nielsen said.
“They run away, get lost, start a fight or bite somebody and that is when we get called,” Nielsen said.
Right now, it is early in the season for animals to be showing up, Nielsen said.
“It is relatively quiet now, but in April and May it really starts to pick up,” Nielsen said.
Mansfield animal shelter has 10 dog kennels and 11 cat cages, which are only left empty during the winter.
“In the wintertime it can be that we only have one dog and two cats here, but after May the kennels will be near capacity,” Nielsen said.
The animal shelter believes graduating students are a factor in the spike of animals in the summertime.
“We do have students that will come to surrender their animals, which is the responsible thing to do if you cannot keep their animal,” Nielsen said, “But there are also students that leave their animals behind.”
Animals that are abandoned by their owners go back to the shelter since the animal shelter does not know where graduating students move.
“Often we can’t get in touch with the owner because we don’t know where they’ve moved to, but we do know that they’re students,” Nielsen said.
Some animals Mansfield Animal Control comes across are let go into the streets, Nielsen said.
“When pets are just let go, we will never know if the animal was from a student or it came from the next town over,” Nielsen said.
The most common reason students surrender animals seems to be a lack of time management, Nielsen said.
“Some students return their pets as soon as four months. There are a number of students that will buy a puppy online and don’t realize that it would be so much work,” Nielsen said, “They aren’t able to balance the dog and college, so they bring the puppy here, and a lot of the time the animals we get are about six months old.”
Naiela Suleiman is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.