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Fort Worth Animal Shelter At Capacity, Adoption Fees Lowered

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FORT WORTH (CBSDW.COM) - The Fort Worth Animal Shelter is at capacity. The city confirmed that on Monday 20 animals were euthanized – the highest number of animals put down so far this year.

Urgent pleas on a Fort Worth Facebook page warn dogs at the city shelter "could be euthanized at any time!"

City officials say the animal shelter overflows each year at the start of spring. But this year animal advocate Debbie Danilow thinks the city is partially to blame.

"There's no place to put the dogs," she said. "So to say, 'just go out and round them up' without a plan in place…"

Back in 2010, Forth Worth boasted it was almost kill-free. An employee told CBS 11 News, "Since April 22nd of this year we have not euthanized a single adoptable pet."

Today officials with the city say they are actively addressing the problem of strays, which pose a public risk by carrying disease and biting people.

A new team of animal control officers was hired several months ago. The six employees are all dedicated to picking up stray dogs.

There are a couple of options for animals found on the streets. Those with tags or microchips go back to their owners – the remaining ones end up at the shelter. Over the last couple of weeks the shelter has taken in some 45 animals each day.

"Well, obviously nobody wants to get bit," Danilow said. "Stray dogs are an issue. But the problem that we have is that we're working very hard to save lives and we don't want to see a dog-killing spree."

The city blames overcrowding on irresponsible owners. A new campaign this month urges people to fence, leash, license, and vaccinate their pets. Last week the shelter also began a foster program that enlists the help and homes of private individuals.

While Danilow applauds all the efforts she worries that they are not enough. "We don't want to see this go backwards into a high kill, kill, kill mode," she said.

The city denies that there's any mass killing going on and says the dogs it chooses to euthanize are high risk and hard to adopt out.

If you are looking for a dog though, the Fort Worth Animal Shelter has lowered its adoption fee this week to just $20.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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