Originally published Saturday, October 19, 2019 at 06:27p.m.

Lake Havasu City’s animal shelter recently received 88 dogs and cats from Maricopa County and McKinley County, New Mexico.

The animals are being kept at the Western Arizona Humane Society’s new shelter. The Humane Society provides animal shelter services under contract for Lake Havasu City. The counties are not paying the Humane Society to take on the additional animals.

According to Maricopa County Animal Care & Control Director Mary Martin, the Western Arizona Humane Society this year became one of more than 100 “rescue partners” throughout the Western U.S. who receive Maricopa County rescue animals.

“Some shelters need a nicer mix of animals, or don’t have enough animals to adopt out, or they have the capacity to shelter animals we don’t have the kennels for,” Martin said Thursday. “We have more animals than our community can adopt.”

All animals sent from Maricopa County to Lake Havasu City’s animal shelter arrived pre-vaccinated, spayed and neutered. While Maricopa County often finds shortages in kennel space, however, Martin has noticed other animal shelters throughout Arizona and the Western U.S. have been seeing a declining number of strays brought to such shelters. For this, she credits efforts nationwide to spay and neuter animals before adopting them to new owners.

According to Western Arizona Humane Society Executive Director Patty Gillmore, Havasu’s animal shelter has needed only to microchip the animals to make them ready for adoption – and they didn’t have to wait long.

“This community is so good about adopting animals and keeping them healthy,” Gillmore said. “We’re able to control pet overpopulation … last week, we had only seven animals in our kennels.”

Gillmore said Thursday that representatives from Maricopa toured the shelter last summer. “They were very impressed. We have a 98% live-release rate, and they told us they don’t have enough kennels to keep all of their animals. I asked about a partnership in which they could send us some of theirs … Maricopa brought us a lot of small dogs – Havasu can never get enough small dogs.”

Gillmore says more animals are also coming to Havasu from Mohave County residents, as well as residents of Quartzsite and Blythe. According to Gillmore, pet owners feel more comfortable in bringing their animals to the Western Arizona’s modern facility, which opened on Sweetwater Avenue in May. Their arrival may not be ideal, Gillmore said, but it’s better than the alternative.

“We’re not supposed to take animals from Blythe, but if we don’t, they will be dumped in the desert,” Gillmore said. “But we’re working hard, and things couldn’t be better. Our donors and community are very supportive.”