TYLER, Texas (KETK) — East Texas animal shelters are overrun with stray animals. Rescue groups and supporters went to the Smith County Commissioner’s Court Tuesday to address the problem.

Deborah Dobbs is the President of the SPCA East Texas.

“It happens just like that,” said Deborah Dobbs. “So, you know, the unwanted litters and the prevention of these stray animals just every year having a litter after litter after litter that The numbers just go up exponentially.”

The stray population is exhausting resources in Smith County, and the longer it takes to fix the problem, the more it multiplies.

Kat Cortelyou is the Director of the SPCA East Texas.

“We had a lot of people come out to speak. One of our main concerns that we are trying to get addressed is the fact that animal control is not picking up animals off the street,” said Kat Cortelyou.

They said animal control is understaffed and overwhelmed.

“Smith County takes in 47 animals, and on the 48th when they start euthanizing,” said Cortelyou. “They now have 120 kennels inside of their facility, but they say that they just don’t have the people to take care of that many animals.”

The SPCA not only wanted to address the growing stray population but also suggest ways to fix it.

“It really kind of snowballs when you don’t when you don’t have mandatory registration of your animals,” said Dobbs. “responsible pet ownership, spay, and neuter is not something that’s highly promoted and unexpected by our by our local authorities.”

They also recommended that the animal control shelter stay open later or on weekends to allow more time for people to come and look at pets to adopt or pick up their pet that got out and was picked up by mistake.

“More people would be able to go to the shelter, walk through, look at the animals and adopt animals, and so that’s one less animal that has to be euthanized or that has to be kept there for space, you know, taking up space,” said Cortelyou.

Freeing up extra space for another four-legged friend needing a home.

“We encourage everyone to please consider rescuing as opposed to purchasing a dog from a pet store that perhaps came from a puppy mill,” said Dobbs.

The SPCA East Texas said they felt recognized and heard by the court and hope to see a positive change with this growing problem.

The president of SPCA East Texas said you could do your part in helping East Texas Animal rescues by spaying and neutering your pets. She also adds that our area has affordable clinics, like the Snip-It Clinic.