But a local non-profit group is working around the clock to save as many of the dogs and cats as possible.
The Merced County animal shelter is packed with pets that must either be adopted or euthanized.
"It's horrible. I make the list. I walk through the shelter and make the list," Merced County Animal Control Supervisor Kristi Caseri said.
Caseri has the difficult job of deciding which dogs and cats are put to sleep based on their health and other factors. She says the shelter is simply too overcrowded to keep all of the animals.
"We have 150 dog kennels. Yesterday we had 167 dogs," Caseri said.
The shelter is also dealing with a staffing shortage, furlough days, and a limited budget. But a non-profit called New Beginnings for Merced County Animals is working to ease that burden.
"Our organization works hand in hand with the shelter to get animals placed with other non-profit no kill facilities or rescue organizations so they don't get euthanized here at this facility," Kristen Lucas of New Beginnings for Merced County Animals said. "That often means driving or flying animals to other parts of the state or even across the country."
In the last week alone, new beginnings has taken 44 dogs from the shelter and found them homes as far away as Wyoming. The organization also helps get veterinary care for many pets with medical problems.
"We get calls pretty much daily asking for help," Caseri said.
That was the case last year when animal control officers found a severely malnourished dog near Livingston. Rescuers later named himBones and tried to nurse him back to health but he died a few days later.
"There are other animals just like Bones that we try to help every day," Caseri said.
The non-profit relies on donations to carry out that mission. One of its most loyal supporters is 11 year old Emily Ewing. She's raised $13 hundred since March and is planning a fundraising dinner and auction at her home next Saturday.
"So many people out there want to help but don't know how to help, and this is just a great way for me to get involved," Ewing said.
New Beginnings for Merced County Animals
Fundraising Dinner & Auction
Saturday, Sept. 15 @ 5:30pm
1060 Stratford Ave. Atwater, CA
For ticket information call: 209-261-8320
You can also pick up a free Save Mart S.H.A.R.E.S. Card at the Merced County Animal Shelter. A portion of the money you spend on groceries will go to help the non-profit.
For other ways to donate or to volunteer go to: http://www.newbeginningsforanimalsmerced.org