Puppy overload: Rochester shelter caring for 55 puppies

“If you don’t find (an animal) that would fit well with your family, we try to help you figure out if there’s a better fit here,” said Tanya Johnson, Paws and Claws shelter director.

Paws and Claws Puppies.jpg
The Paws and Claws Humane Society is caring for 55 puppies as of January 2023.
Contributed / Paws and Claws Humane Society
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ROCHESTER — A puppy overload raises happy scenes: Puppies licking your face, learning new skills like rolling over and bringing you joy in the long nights. At Paws and Claws Humane Society, a large influx of puppies also shows the need for animal adoption.

The shelter has 55 puppies with nine puppies born on Saturday, Jan. 21. With 86 dogs, including the puppies, and 165 cats, the shelter posted , “We are feeling overwhelmed, but it’s winter, and the last few litters were found outside.” A series of the dogs and puppies came to the shelter after they were not sold by a breeder, said Tanya Johnson, Paws and Claws shelter director.

“We do have quite a few puppies right now, and surprisingly a lot of these puppies came from breeding facilities that either couldn’t find them homes or were not able to sell them,” Johnson said. “And we do have a lot of puppies from other rescues that were just overrun and needed help as well.”

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With shelters across the nation full and fewer adoptions in the winter, Johnson said the “animal-loving community” is great at supporting animals’ needs and adoptions. The needs include puppy food, adult dog and cat food, blankets, towels, dog toys, cat wand toys and pet beds. The items do not have to be new.

“We could always use puppy food, and we had recently made a post on Facebook and our supporters have been so generous and donated quite a bit of puppy food, which we’re so thankful for,” Johnson said. “But with that many puppies, we go through it really quickly.”


Volunteers have “been really busy caring for them and looking for the right homes for each and every one of them,” Johnson said. Volunteers help care for the animals on a daily basis, including walks and spending time with the dogs and cats.

“We try to keep the dogs who are in their kennels busy by giving them something to chew on like a bully stick or Kong,” Johnson said. “You know, things to keep their mind occupied, especially in the cold weather where they can’t be outside for long periods of time to play. It definitely keeps them occupied to give them something to do while they’re in their kennels waiting for their home. Same with cats.”

With every animal making it to their homes over time, Johnson said, “we never give up.” The shelter is open Monday to Saturday with specific pet viewing hours.

How to adopt a pet

If you’re looking for a companion animal, the adoption process is available on the Paws and Claws website. “If you don’t find (an animal) that would fit well with your family, we try to help you figure out if there’s a better fit here,” Johnson said.

  • Visit to view the dogs and cats available for adoption. Adoption fees are also listed with the animals.
  • Fill out an adoption questionnaire online, or print one off their website and fax or email the form. The form includes questions on the animal you’re interested in, your current animals and your care plan for the animal.
  • After the form is reviewed, you’ll schedule a visit with the animal(s) at Paws and Claws.

Dogs and cats available for adoption at Paws and Claws:

Rebecca Mitchell started as a Digital Content Producer for the Post Bulletin in August 2022. She specializes in enhancing online articles as well as education, feature and health reporting.
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