Well, it looks like Golden Paw Pet Rescue isn’t immune to the overpopulation pet problem that’s been plaguing the other no-kill shelters in the area for quite some time.

The shelter’s Mary Green told me on Thursday that they’ve had to turn away 50 to 60 requests each week from folks who discovered dumped pets — mostly dogs — on their property.

Why is this happening? On top of people simply refusing to spay and neuter their pets, which I’ve talked about in these columns until I’m blue in the face, it also might have to do with the Christmas scenario. Parents purchase cute puppies for their sons or daughters on Dec. 25. By the time July and August rolls around, that puppy isn’t so small and isn’t so cute. Suddenly, those kids and their parents don’t want to have to mess with a large dog running around their house or property. So they kick it to the curb.

“We’re getting calls all the time,” Green said.

In one call, a property owner told her that somebody had dumped two dogs in her front yard sometime during the night.

In another call, a heartless owner tied their cowering pooch to a property owner’s fence post, though they’d left an unopened 25-pound bag of dog food next to the poor thing, perhaps to help cope with their own guilt. These types of situations and worse are happening all across the Joplin metro area.

“We simply don’t have the room for them,” Green said. “We just (can’t) physically put another dog in here.”

Same old song and dance, it seems. And the only ones who truly suffer are the dogs and cats themselves. It’s truly unbelievable. And it shouldn’t be happening.

A sign on the west-facing wall of the shelter keeps track of the number of adoptions the shelter makes each day. Through July 25, Golden Paw has adopted out 573 dogs and cats. The total from 2018, if you’re interested, was 614. Because of this ongoing unwanted pet abandonment nightmare shelter workers are witnessing firsthand, they’ll blow past that number, possibly by early August.

There are about 120 dogs at Golden Paw, which is well over capacity, said the shelter’s Alexis Prado. The shelter usually houses around 100 in two outdoor dog runs. Shelter officials are also caring for 52 cats; normal capacity is around 20. Things are tight, Prado said.

Understandably, there are adoption specials in place at Golden Paw: Adult cats are $50, and kittens six months and younger are $75; for dogs who have been at the shelter for six months, their adoption fees are $100.

One of the shelter dogs who’s been at Golden Paw for six months (and an additional six months on top of that) is named Lamar. He’s a big, goofy 1-year-old adult, all big paws and floppy ears because of the coonhound blood inside him. He’s a big boy now, but when he first came to the shelter as a puppy, one of several in a litter, he was sweet-faced little thing. His other siblings have since found homes — somehow, Lamar’s been overlooked and, sadly, forgotten.

He’s described by Prado as a “beautiful adult dog that’s great with kids, pets and other dogs,” a boxer/coonhound mix showcasing a mix of colors — red, chestnut/orange and creamy white — on his coat. These spots — the large brown ones and the tiny round ones — give him a truly distinct look.

When I first met him in the play yard outside, he was in full coonhound mode — running around the yard with nose to the grass. I love coonhounds, and I especially love seeing them in their natural element.

Can you give him the home he so richly deserves?

As an aside and reminder, Golden Paw is teaming up with Golden Corral for a fundraiser dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. this Wednesday. If you want to donate, just ask for the Golden Paw section of the restaurant. All tips go to support Golden Paw and all those animals they’re taking care of.

To adopt Lamar or any of the other dogs or cats that call the shelter home, visit them at 2300 N. Main Street or give them a call at 417-623-0842.

Address correspondence to Kevin McClintock, c/o The Joplin Globe, Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802 or email kmcclintock@joplinglobe.com.

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