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OGDEN — Utah animal shelters are packed to the brim, with one saying it’s such a desperate situation that it has no choice but to euthanize potentially more than a dozen dogs if they aren’t adopted by the end of the month.

Shelters are also seeing a troubling trend behind why they’re taking in way too many dogs.

At the Weber County Animal Shelter, a family walked out the front door with a white pit bull mix Tuesday afternoon. Two-year-old Ace was ready to fit right in with the family.

Mom Chloe Monzalvo said they “wanted to come and see if we could find another companion.” They lost their family dog a year ago, and they felt it was time to find a fur sibling for their two young kids.

Ace became one less dog for Lisa Weiss, Weber County Animal Shelter adoption specialist, to worry about.

“I just jump up and down and clap my hands,” she said with a smile.

But the shelter still has 111 dogs, and only 90 kennels to house them. Walking into one of the kennel rooms, Weiss explained that dogs need to be doubled up in kennels.

New dogs keep arriving, with not many being adopted. It leaves the shelter with little choice.

“We are being forced to make the decision to euthanize just because we absolutely have no kennel space whatsoever,” Weiss said.

It’s a dramatic step for a no-kill shelter, Weiss said. And it’s the first time they’ve had to do this since the facility became a no-kill shelter.

Chloe Monzalvo adopts Ace, a white pit bull mix, at the Weber County Animal Shelter Tuesday. Shelter officials say they will have no choice but to euthanize potentially more than a dozen dogs if they aren't adopted by the end of the month.
Chloe Monzalvo adopts Ace, a white pit bull mix, at the Weber County Animal Shelter Tuesday. Shelter officials say they will have no choice but to euthanize potentially more than a dozen dogs if they aren’t adopted by the end of the month. (Photo: Lauren Steinbrecher, KSL-TV)

She explained that there’s a reason the shelter is so crowded.

“A lot of people are abandoning their animals,” she said. “We are getting more strays in than we ever have gotten in, and people are not coming to claim those strays.”

This isn’t the only shelter dealing with the overcrowding issues. Salt Lake County, Hurricane, South Utah Valley and Grantsville shelters have all also said they are full.

Salt Lake County made dog adoptions just $10 for September, and the first several dogs to be adopted out on Saturdays are free. Grantsville is holding a special free adoption event on Sept. 23 in hopes of finding dogs new homes.

At the Weber County Animal Shelter, more than a dozen pups were put on doggy death row, with a euthanasia date of Sept. 26. Those dogs are free to adopt. Other adoptions are $25.

Dogs like spunky heeler/German shepherd mix Tucker and sweet pit mix Penny won’t be alive by the end of the month if they’re not adopted. Weiss hopes it doesn’t come to that and hopes to find them a home.


These are nice dogs. They’re not dangerous dogs. They just want a home. Most of them were abandoned … and they just don’t deserve it.

–Lisa Weiss, Weber County Animal Shelter


“We evaluate these dogs. These are nice dogs. They’re not dangerous dogs. They just want a home,” she said. “Most of them were abandoned by their owners, and they just don’t deserve it. And we just wanted to give them that second chance.”

Ace was on that euthanasia list, but now he’s headed toward a happy home.

“We just want to see what we can do for animals that need a home,” said Ace’s new owner Chloe. “They need just as much love and attention as anybody else.”

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Lauren Steinbrecher

Lauren Steinbrecher is an Emmy award-winning reporter and multimedia journalist who joined KSL in December 2021.

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