Stray animal drop boxes at I.F. Animal Shelter are closing due to high number of abandoned animals

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The following is a news release from the Idaho Falls Police Department.

IDAHO FALLS — A significant increase in the number of animals being left in the Idaho Falls Animal Shelter’s stray animal “drop boxes” has led to the decision to close the drop boxes to the general public.

As an attempt to treat stray animals and help them find homes, the Idaho Falls Animal Shelter provided drop boxes for the public to bring stray animals to the shelter outside of their normal business hours. Instead of being used for stray animals, the boxes have commonly been used to abandon unwanted animals.

As of Monday, Feb. 12, the shelter’s drop boxes will no longer be open to the public.

In 2017, more than 1,100 animals were dropped off in the shelter’s after-hours drop boxes. In most cases, no information was given to the shelter about the animal. Information about the animal is essential to inform staff about factors such as where it was found, known health conditions, or whether the animal has bitten a human or attacked another animal.

Lack of information can increase the likelihood of disease, which may spread to other animals in the shelter or may pose a public safety risk. When animals have been abandoned in a drop box without completed paperwork, there has been a significant increase in time invested to discover the animals’ health conditions, which increases costs to the shelter and causes a delay in treating the animals.

“Unattended drop boxes present a number of challenges, including difficulty in tracking crucial information about animals,” Animal Services Manager Irene Brown said

The Idaho Falls Animal Shelter is sympathetic to a decision to surrender an animal, but requires animals to be surrendered at the front desk during business hours. The shelter staff encourages the public to provide as much information about the animal as possible.

“We’re not here to judge you, we just want to do the best thing for these animals,” Brown said.

From now on, residents who find stray animals can notify public safety dispatch at (208) 529-1200. An officer will be dispatched the following morning to pick up the animal. Local law enforcement officials will continue to have access to the shelter’s drop boxes.

The Idaho Falls Animal Shelter is located at 2450 Hemmert Ave, Idaho Falls, and is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM to 6:00 P.M. and Saturday from 10:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. Injured or sick stray animals can be taken to the Idaho Falls Emergency Veterinary Clinic at 3151 McNeil Dr., Idaho Falls.

Please visit www.ifanimalshelter.org for more information.

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