RENSSELAER COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Since the pandemic, animal shelters have not only needed volunteers but also needed more space. But earlier this year, the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society announced they could no longer accept any more stray animals. Animal activists like Valerie Lang Waldin said they understand the reasons behind the decision.

“Mohawk Hudson did this for safe reasons. You know, they’re not doing it to be cruel,” Waldin said. “But they can no longer be the only animal shelter in the Capital District.”

But it’s not just individual people who can’t bring strays to the shelter. Local municipalities in Rensselaer County that also used Mohawk Hudson Humane Society to take lost animals had yet to learn that contracts would be terminated so soon. Out of the municipalities in the county, Troy is the only contract left with the shelter, at least for now, leaving others scrambling for a solution…

In Brunswick, Capital Agway is sheltering dogs to help out, but Owner Cindy Konieczny said they expected the number of strays to stay the same.

“And even being new to the game, we were told maybe three or four strays per town, and our numbers are more like three times that,” she said. “I see dogs being left here and no owners coming forward. And it’s concerning.”

Right now, New York laws state that each town needs a place to put stray dogs. Saratoga has a county-wide animal shelter, but they are the only one in the Capital Region.

When the idea was up for a vote at a Rensselaer County meeting over the summer, it was voted down. Advocates like Sue McDonough, from the Legislative Committee of NYS Humane Association, worry about what will happen in a hoarding situation like a few years back in Schaghticoke when 150 cats were found in a single home. That case led to five arrests.

“We have no place for animals now if these things should happen. If we get a major dog fighting case with a bunch of pit bulls…we have no place to put them right now,” she said. “They can end up on the street.”

News10 reached out to Rensselaer County, and Richard Crist, Director of Operations, said in a statement:

“There were early stages of a plan to establish a shelter to care for dogs, but advocates opposed that plan, saying they wanted more animals to be included. And towns, so far, say the issue is still manageable at the local level.”

News10 also reached out to the City of Troy to ask if their number of strays has also increased, but have yet to receive a response.