RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)– Richmond Animal Care and Control has reached critical capacity levels and is running out of space for the animals.

The shelter is experiencing a massive increase this year in strays, seizure and bite cases and dogs involved in court cases. According to the shelter, employees now have to dip into adoptable space to make room for the influx of stray, bite and seizure cases that are now happening regularly.

Caitlin Stallings, the office manager at Richmond Animal Care and Control Stallings told 8News that the holding wards are full and the stray space is maxed out.

“It has just made space jam packed,” Stallings said. “We’re now at critical capacity,”

Luckily, Stallings said that none of the animals that wind up at Richmond Animal Care and Control will be put down.

“A lot of shelters are having to make really tough decisions regarding space that they’ve never had to make before. Luckily, we’re not in that position,” Stallings said. “But in order to maintain that type of mission where we aren’t euthanizing for space, we have to have the community step up and help us out.”

According to Stallings, a possible reason for a high-capacity level could be COVID-19. The term “pandemic puppy” is used often to describe the affect that the pandemic has had on animals.

“They’re lacking socialization that normally they would receive in a world that COVID is not a part of,” Stallings said. “So we’ve definitely kind of considered that as part of a reason maybe we’re seeing dogs with these kinds of behavior issues.”

Anyone interested in adopting one of the animals at Richmond Animal Care and Control can schedule an adoption appointment Monday through Thursday by emailing christie.peters@rva.gov. Visitors are also welcome on Fridays from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.

For those who are not ready to make that lifelong commitment to a new pet, the Dog Days Foster program allows adult dogs with medical or behavioral needs out of the shelter and into a temporary home. These dogs just need to be the only animal in the house. Foster families can also still chose to adopt the dog later on, and will have their adoption fee waived if they decide to do so. Interested foster families can email caitlin.stallings@rva.gov.

“We develop these types of programs so that way we can find new and creative ways to get dogs out, even if it’s not a permanent home,” Stallings said. “It’s better than being here in a kennel.”

To see all the adoptable pets at Richmond Animal Care and control, go to their website