A shelter in Indiana found itself so swamped with owners coming to surrender their pets that it decided to take drastic action - and start charging people to dump their dogs and cats.
The Muncie Animal Shelter began charging a $25 fee for surrenders last week. Director Phil Peckinpaugh hopes the fee will encourage owners who are dropping off their dogs to consider the weight of their actions.
"We allow people to drop off pets like they're some disposable item," Peckinpaugh told The Dodo. "It's important to hold people responsible."
Some in the community have raised concerns that charging for surrenders will lead to more dogs and cats abandoned on the streets - or worse. But Peckinpaugh doesn't believe that will be the case.
"Obviously we're going to act in the best interest of the animal," he said, adding that, if it seems that enforcing the fee will put an animal in any danger, the shelter will drop it.
Like so many shelters across the country, Muncie's is overcrowded and underfunded. So far this month, it has taken in 159 animals, 70 of whom have been surrenders, Peckinpaugh said.
The $25 fee will go toward helping pay for food and care for the animals.
"We receive so many and to be honest our funding here is so little," Peckinpaugh said. "We're honestly just looking to have a little more funding to support the animals."
Check out some of the Muncie Animal Shelter's adoptable pets here - help them find their real forever homes.