By Syma Chowdhry and Chelsea Karnash

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Attention, animal lovers: Philadelphia’s Animal Care & Control Team needs your help.

According to ACCT, 399 animals were surrendered to them over the weekend, and with only 12 cages free for new intakes, the situation is dire.

“The summer is our busy season, so we’ve seen an increase of dogs and cats coming in the shelter,” explains Natalie Smith, the director of life-saving and prevention for ACCT. “Since last Friday, we’ve taken in over 900 animals.”

There are a variety of reasons people give up their pets, such as financial problems or issues with living arrangements.

“We do see some animals come in because people don’t have affordable places to board their animal, or don’t have family members to watch their animals if they go away,” Smith says.

And summer season is also kitten season.

“Once June and July hit, we are at full capacity with kittens of all ages,” Smith says.

Since Friday, 900 animals have been taken in by ACCT, 133 were adopted, 268 were transferred to other rescues, 86 are being fostered and 95 are up for adoption. But 318 had to be euthanized.

And when it comes to animals being put down, Smith says, “We make those decisions based on how many animals are coming in.”

Shelters also recommend owners microchip their pets, just in case they get lost or run away and are brought into a facility. In that case, they will scan the animal and a number will pop up with all your information.

“We reach out to the owner. For dogs, we legally have to hold a microchipped dog for 10 days. That gives the owner a chance to come back in,” Smith explains. “We send a letter to their home, in addition to calling them.”

And ACCT is trying to get people to adopt or foster their animals.

“When we do get really full, we also try to do more creative adoption promotions,” Smith says.

If you can’t adopt, you can always foster an animal.

“That helps tremendously, because it gets the animal out of the shelter and gets it ready for adoption and opens up a space for the new animals arriving,” she explains.

Jahhan Stewart, who was adopting a kitten, says it’s “just to bring some joy to the house and some type of extra activity to the house.”

And she feels everyone should go to the shelter for a pet: “If you have the space, you have the time, you have the patience – go get one. Just get an animal, especially from a shelter, because they do need love.”

Smith says that instead of surrendering your pet if you fall on hard times, you should try to find it a home with someone you trust.

“Try reaching out to friends, family and co-workers first, because a lot of people might step up, and that way, your pet can avoid coming into the shelter.”

And if you can’t afford your pet, Smith adds, “We also offer a lot of surrender prevention programs here, including a food pantry, so we can support low-income pet owners keeping their pets in their home.”

For more information or to foster or adopt a new pet, please call (267)-385-3800 or visit:

Animal Care & Control Team of Philadelphia

111 W. Hunting Park Avenue
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19140 (map)
(267) 385-3800 | phone
(267) 385-3889 | fax


Hours: 1pm – 8pm, weekdays; 10am – 5pm, weekends

Animal Control Services

Hours: 24hrs a day, everyday

Foster Care

Hours: 9am – 6pm, everyday

Lost and Found

Hours: 8am – 10pm, everyday