INDIANAPOLIS — Animal rescues are overwhelmed in central Indiana. These pet safe havens say they are seeing more strays and surrendered animals than ever before. Sometimes that comes at the cost of the pet.

“We get calls every five minutes for take my dog, take my cat,” says Jane Irk, a 14-year animal rescuer and owner of Sacred Sycamore Rescue, “None of us have ever seen so many animals. I mean people are just dumping them.”

So far Indianapolis Animal Care Services (IACS) has taken in more than 250 animals since the start of the month, and that’s just eleven days. Typically they see a boost near the Fourth of July because of fireworks, however they say this is more than usual.

“There can be a bit of a wait if you want to just surrender your pet,” tells Roxie Randall, IACS Manager of Community Outreach, “They can still reach out to our intake staff, and make an appointment to come in because all intakes are by appointment.”

Rescues we spoke with believe too many people with pandemic pets are just letting them go because they can’t take care of them since returning to work in person, nor can they find a shelter to take them in. Right now IACS is over capacity. They will only take animals under an emergency. Rescues are seeing more strays, and some believe people are just letting the dogs go because they have no alternative.

“A friend of mine who has a chihuahua rescue just took in a little chihuahua the other day that was downtown. One of its eyes had to be removed, had it had scars all over, and it weighed 3.5 lbs. We are thinking maybe it was thrown out of a car,” tells Irk, “We are seeing everything. We see full-blooded dogs, labradoodles, mini doodles, German shepherds. Most of them are thin, haven’t been groomed. Everyone should have to go to a shelter or rescue, and look at all those faces because it’s heartbreaking.”

If you are having trouble taking care of your pet, both Sacred Sycamore Rescue and IACS suggest reaching out to Indy Cares. The program can help assist you with food supplies, veterinary visits, even vaccines.