It's raining cats and dogs at SA RSPCA shelter
For the first time in more than 40 years the RSPCA is turning people away from its Lonsdale shelter in Adelaide, unable to take any more surrendered animals.
The Lonsdale facility is running beyond capacity with 542 cats and kittens and 128 dogs and puppies being cared for, forcing the use of transportable buildings and office space to house all the animals.
The charity says the freeze on accepting animals will continue until numbers drop sufficiently.
Chief executive Marcus Gehrig said the decision had not been taken lightly, but a perfect storm had led to an enormous number of animals arriving at the shelter over the past 12 months.
"Our shelter staff and volunteers have been overstretched for months, and the huge toll it's taking on them as they strive to ensure every single animal receives the care it needs, is unacceptable," Mr Gehrig said.
"We are an underfunded charity. This is a crisis where we have to act now because we're simply out of room."
The high number of animals being surrendered has been attributed to a range of factors, including the state's rental crisis, with 178 given up because their owners were unable to secure pet-friendly accommodation.
The RSPCA said tighter cat management laws in some councils had also resulted in more strays being caught while there had been a higher number of animals being seized from squalid animal hoarding.
"We're doing all we can to rehome animals, and we're adopting animals at record numbers, but every day the incoming number is significantly exceeding the outgoing number," Mr Gehrig said.
"We find new homes for nine out of every 10 animals that come to us, and as a responsible rehoming organisation we will continue to rehome every animal in our care that has the prospect of a good life ahead and that doesn't pose a risk to public safety."
The RSPCA has urged people to consider adopting a dog or cat and has also called on those no longer able to care for a pet to use "whatever resources are available to them" to find them new homes.