WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Wichita Animal Shelter is concerned about something that is happening on almost a daily basis. A spokesperson said more and more dogs and cats are being dropped off at the shelter.

“What has happened this year, which is different than years past, is our intakes have increased drastically,” Lt. Derek Purcell, Wichita Animal Services director, said. “Just for dogs this year, our intakes are up about 34% and for cats, about 10%.”

He said the shelter took in an average of 17 dogs and 16 cats a day last month. Purcell said that means the shelter’s rescue partner, the Kansas Humane Society (KHS), has to find placement for 33 animals every day.

Purcell thinks some people may avoid picking up their lost pets from the Wichita Animal Shelter because of the cost.

“I don’t want those costs to be something that prevents you from getting your dog back,” he said. “So, if you’re at the shelter, your dogs up there, and you need to get the dog back, and cost is the reason you can’t, ask to speak to myself or a supervisor, and we can work something out to make sure that that dog goes home with you. We’d rather have it at your house than our shelter.”

The overwhelming majority of animals that go to the Wichita Animal Shelter wind up at KHS or at an animal rescue organization in the area.

Purcell said the shelter’s resources are limited.

“One thing that citizens can do if … your kids are at home, you want to teach them some responsibility, you can take one of the dogs from KHS and foster it in your house until they can find placement for it with an adopter.”

He said that gives the shelter more room for incoming animals.

As he spoke, Purcell mentioned another problem the shelter faces.

“People often confuse us with the Kansas Humane Society,” he said.

The Wichita Animal Shelter and KHS are in separate buildings but on the same campus at K-96 and Hillside. They also share the same parking lot.

When you are in the parking lot, facing the two buildings, the Wichita Animal Shelter is on the left. KHS is on the right.

“If you’re trying to find your lost pet, you’re going to come see us at the Animal Shelter. If you’re trying to adopt a pet … you will go to the Humane Society,” Purcell said. “We do not do any adoptions at the Animal Shelter through our partnership with the Humane Society. All that takes place over there.”

According to a City brochure, the Wichita Animal Shelter tries to return pets with ID tags or ID chips to their owners. If an animal does not have any identification, the shelter holds the animal for three days to give the owner a chance to find it and claim it.

The shelter posts pictures of its animals on 24PetConnect.com. The site is updated regularly. Officials say your best bet for a successful search is to click on “Lost My Pet.” You can narrow your search by choosing “dog” or “cat,” but do not get any more specific than that. If you find your pet, write down the ID number displayed next it, and call the Animal Shelter at 316-350-3366.

If you do not see your pet, Purcell said you can also visit the shelter. The hours are 11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. On Sundays and some holidays, the hours are 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. The shelter is closed on major holidays.

If a shelter animal is not claimed, it faces an uncertain future. It could go to the Kansas Humane Society or an animal rescue organization for adoption. Or it could be euthanized.