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Kern County shelter 2.5 times over comfortable limit with high intake of dogs

Posted at 5:13 AM, Jun 26, 2024

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Kern County Animal Services says the shelter takes hundreds of young dogs in each month, and the number has been steadily growing for three years. A place to start? Low-cost spay and neuter clinics.

  • Video shows KCAS Director highlighting the ongoing puppy problem at the shelter. He tells 23ABC that since the pandemic, young dog intake at the shelter has steadily increased.
  • Nick Cullen says there is no one solution to help slow the cycle down, but a place to start is to bring resources into low-income communities. 23ABC spoke with him outside of a low-cost mobile spay and neuter clinic in Oildale.
  • “The more spay and neuter we’re doing in our community, the less puppies we’re going to see in our shelter,” Nick Cullen said.


New puppy intake has been an ongoing problem, but since the pandemic, it has been exacerbated. Kern County Animal Services says they see hundreds of new puppies at their shelter each month. One of the ways they're hoping to slow the cycle is by offering low-cost spay and neuter clinics on the go.

“We’ve been really in crisis for three years now.”

Nick Cullen, director of Kern County Animal Services tells me since 2021, the amount of new puppies entering county shelters has gone up, and the trend continues this summer.

“It’s grown incrementally year over year," Cullen said. "We see about 250 to 350 young dogs coming into the shelter every month.”

With that growth means a crowded shelter, Cullen says.

“The capacity is whatever comes in,” Cullen said. “A comfortable population is about 175, and we have about 450 right now.”

According to a report from Kern County Animal Services, in May 2024, the shelter took in 781 dogs. Also in May, the report says 151 dogs were euthanized.

Cullen says there’s no one solution to the crisis, but continuing to promote spay and neuter is a place to start.

“The more spay and neuter we’re doing in our community, the less puppies we’re going to see in our shelter,” he said.

When we spoke, we were outside of the shelter’s mobile spay and neuter clinic near Oildale.

“The folks in this community, they want to fix their pets. They just can’t afford it,” Cullen said. “They have no resources to do it anywhere close by. I think a big part of the solution is bringing the resources to the people that want it the most.”

Cullen says the county is always looking for more adoptive and foster families to take care of the animals living at the shelter, but they’re going to continue to bring resources to neighborhoods to help reach more animals.

“I think that’s the only way this problem is going to get solved–this crisis is going to be wound back is to engage with the community and bring resources out to the communities that need it the most.”

If you're looking to adopt a pet, you can view adoptable animals at the shelter here.Adoption events and upcoming clinics are listed on the KCAS website here. If you need resources for low-cost spay and neuter options, visit the shelter's website here. Kern County Animal Services posts other events and updates on their Facebook and Instagram pages.

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