September 24, 2023

Bowlingual Dog

Animal Planet Directory

As Oakland’s eviction moratorium ends, animal shelter reaches crisis point

OAKLAND – Animal shelters across the Bay Area have reached a crisis level as more and more people are surrendering their dogs because they can no longer afford to keep them. 

At Oakland Animal Services these days, there is row after row of kennels filled with dogs and cats waiting to be adopted. Amid the cacophony of barks and the sight of trembling paws, there’s a profound sense of urgency in the air. 

OAS Director Ann Dunn said the shelter is so packed these days, she may be forced to do something she’s been trying to avoid for years: euthanize dogs for space.

“It keeps me up at night. It does seem to be outpacing our capacity to help,” she said. 

The shelter now has around 140 dogs, which is 60 above capacity. On the feline side, they’re up to 190 cats, 90 over the limit.

A dog up for adoption at Oakland Animal Services


In the last six months, she’s seen a 25% increase in dog intakes as people face an ever-growing housing crisis. Now the shelter is bracing for even more surrenders, after the city’s eviction moratorium, enacted at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, ended earlier this month. 

“It is terrifying to think are we actually going to reach this point where we actually can’t help all the dogs that need it and we’re certainly hovering close to that all the time,” she said. 

About 40% of the dogs at her shelter have been brought in by pet owners who can no longer afford them because they’re losing their housing.  

The shelter has been able to avoid euthanasia by pleading for help from the community and aggressively pushing its adoption programs.  

It’s one of the reasons James and Kathy Paxson drove here from Berkeley and it’s a good thing they did. One look at TJ, a spunky pit- terrier mix, is all it took to sign the papers. 

 “We’ve been kind of looking and waiting for the one that really felt right and today was the day,” James Paxson said.

 TJ is one of the lucky ones. He not only found his forever home, but he also has a new name: Tyoga. 

 “I think he knows that he’s coming into a good family, and I think he’s excited about that,” James said. “Hopefully he knows there’s a good future in front of him.” 

For Dunn, it means one more life saved. 

“We’re giving it everything we can but it’s just getting harder and harder,” she said. 

If you’d like to adopt any of the dogs in this story, contact Oakland Animal Services at 510-535-5602 or visit