'Things in animal rescue people don’t talk about': Long-time animal rescue to close in Portland

Shelters and rescues are at capacity
A Place to Bark
Posted at 8:00 PM, Jan 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-17 23:57:56-05

PORTLAND, Tenn. (WTVF) — Animal rescues and shelters across the country are facing a crisis. Fewer people are adopting dogs and cats, which has led to overcrowded facilities.

In Nashville, Metro Animal Care and Control is currently caring for 108 dogs. Also, one of their longtime rescue partners will soon close its doors A Place to Bark.

"Landlords or apartment complexes aren’t wanting dogs. They also have breed limitations or size limitations something preventing them from bringing that furry family member in if they have to move," said Ashley Harrington, Metro Nashville Animal Care and Control director.

"There's a lot of things in animal rescue people don’t talk about but so many people sacrifice," A Place to Bark founder Bernie Berlin said.

Sacrifices Berlin has been making for decades. She's been taking in thousands of four-legged friends, who need a little behavioral help for 21 years.

MACC is one of several shelters A Place to Bark works with. Berlin pulls a dog and gets them ready to be adopted.

“If she closes, that’s a good number of animals that may not have a rescue pathway. They may be sitting at the shelter for a while or find an alternate pathway for them. With her closing or scaling back that’s a danger we will all be impacted by," Harrington said.

MACC's Director Ashley Harrington thinks the idea of Berlin shutting down will add to the strain they’re already facing, but she understands.

"It's not just the number of dogs she’s pulling from MACC here. That number often doubles, triples, and sometimes quadruples depending on how many shelters she visits this week or this month," Harrington said.

"I'm getting older. I've been in it 21 years. My body is getting tired. This last year donations have tanked. Volunteers are nonexistent, and I can’t find workers," Berlin said.

Recently 7-year-old girl Lila Stephens donated $27.25 from her piggy bank to A Place to Bark, and community members have been matching the donation.

The funds are helping the rescue pay off overdue vet bills. Since Lila's mom posted about what her daughter did, over $2,000 has been donated to A Place to Bark.

Berlin is ready to say goodbye but is open to the idea of teaching someone to follow in her footsteps of animal rescue.

Find out how you can match Lila's donation, here. Also, if you're looking to adopt an animal or foster an animal to free up space, check out MACC's website.

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