ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — The Regional Center for Animal Care & Protection (RCACP) is reminding pet owners to call before surrendering an animal.

The facility is currently only responsible for strays and is at capacity. The staff says they understand the cost of caring for a pet might be high, encouraging more people to surrender, but they say they can help with food and medical care.

Interim Executive Director, Mike Warner said, “If you show up here with your animal, we will take your animal but we want that opportunity to have that dialogue to see what’s going on, if there’s medical help that’s needed or if there’s food or something like that.”

(Photo: Amanda Lee/WFXR)

He says they’re seeing a 9% increase in owner-surrendered animals which is significantly high. When there’s an influx of surrendered animals, Warner says there’s less room for strays. He says shelters across the Roanoke Valley are full and they want to try their best to avoid euthanizing animals.

“We’re caring for about 269 animals, 69 of those being in fosters. We depend heavily on our fosters to give them a safe place to stay while we try to work out the inventory,” said Warner.

(Photo: Amanda Lee/WFXR)

RCACP staff members have been stepping up to help with space by volunteering to foster. One staff member, Celia Hinkle typically fosters kittens who come through the door and need a place to stay for a few days. She says fostering is great for people who might not have time to care for a pet long-term.

Hinkle said, “It really helps us, but if you’re an animal person and you love animals but maybe you don’t want the full-time commitment of a pet, it fills that need in your heart but you know then, you’re helping the animal and you can then pass it on to their forever home.”

(Photo: Amanda Lee/WFXR)

RCACP also encourages fostering from their partners, Angels of Assisi and the Roanoke SPCA.