ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) – The City of Rochester’s animal shelter, Rochester Animal Services, is calling on the community to help alleviate capacity issues on Verona Street.

The shelter has faced continued capacity issues over the last few years. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, Rochester Animal Services is opening a temporary foster program.

Beginning Friday, November 17 through Saturday, November 25, the shelter is looking for pet lovers to take in one of their dogs or cats. All necessary supplies will be provided, and any adoption fees will be waived.

“We need to get animals placed with loving homes. It’s really going to be best for the animals,” said David Langley, community relations coordinator for Rochester Animal Services.

The overcrowding seen by the shelter in recent years is part of a nationwide crisis.

Langley says the shelter often reaches its limit of keeping almost 100 dogs or cats at a given time.

“I can’t speak for the whole industry, but I would say in general that I don’t think any of us ever foresaw a time like this because for the longest time, we had a greater rate of animals leaving than coming in,” said Langley.

Because of this, Rochester Animal Services has also put a hold on intakes, which includes lost pets or surrenders. In the coming months, Langley says they are hoping to bring back extended hours one day per week.

For now, their hope is community members will open their doors.

“We’ve seen other organizations plan and hold events like this. It seemed like something we could use as well. It’s using the holiday as a call to action for people to come and bring one of our awesome animals into their lives and give them a good home,” said Langley.

Rochester Animal Services is also contracted with Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Services (VSES). The facility in Brighton is the only emergency veterinary hospital in our area, and is set to close by November 27. The shelter says a new contract is in the works.

Those interested in taking in a dog or cat between Nov. 17 to Nov. 25 are asked to visit the shelter at 184 Verona St. in Rochester during operating hours of Monday to Saturday from noon to 3:30 p.m.

More information can be found here.