Growing number of abandoned animals in the Fox Valley

OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) -- A growing problem across the Fox Valley, as people are leaving their animals behind when they move.

“There’s been a huge uptick recently, in about the last year to 18 months. We’ve seen it more and more,” says Vicki Prey, Outagamie County Humane Officer.

In the past year, Outagamie County officials have seen upwards of 40 cases of abandoned animals, often when their owners get evicted.

“When animals are left behind, a lot of times they're left behind and people won't find them for a couple of days. Obviously, it's scary for the animal,” says Rebecca Klich, Social Media Coordinator for Fox Valley Humane Association. “They've lost their family, they have no idea what happened.”

Officials say animals most often abandoned are cats and dogs.

When an animal is found left behind, law enforcement must step in before the Humane Association can rescue the animal. The entities work together to secure the area, and keep the animal safe.

The recent increase in cases has become straining on both law enforcement and the Humane Association.

“It does, at times, tax our resources,” Prey says.

It’s problems like this that led the Humane Association to pair up with the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Department, creating the “Sheriff’s Shelter Task Force.”

“We’re trying to show off the different units that they have at the Sheriff's Department, and the different departments we have here, and how they go together to keep the people and the pets of our community safe,” says Klich.

Once a week, the task force will create Facebook posts, explaining how the Sheriff’s Department works with the Humane Association to promote safe living for people and their pets.