Hamilton County Animal Shelter in "crisis"

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'Tis the season to be with those you love. But it seems to also be the season to get rid of pets.

The Hamilton County Animal Shelter has seen an influx of people giving up their cats and dogs just before the holidays.

It was an easy choice for Kathy Patton and her granddaughter.

"It's kinda like she chose us. She just gave us that look and you know," Patton said.

The family has named their new kitty, Ana, after her granddaughter. Patton's 17-year-old purebred Himalayan cat recently died and this time they wanted to visit the Hamilton County Animal Shelter.

"We decided that we would adopt, because there are so many kitties and cats out there that don't have homes," she said.

More than 500 animals without homes, in fact. Dogs, cats, kittens and puppies, as the holidays draw near, the number of "unwanted" animals has nearly doubled.

"We believe that a lot of people are traveling or have family coming over and it's stressful. It's a time that may be enough to push them over the edge and they decided to give up their pet," Rebecca Stevens with the Hamilton County Animal Shelter said. "Where am I going to put them? It puts us in the situation, do we have to put some of them down? I was literally walking here yesterday and said, which one is the sickest if we have to do this? I don't want to do this."

The no-kill animal shelter is tasked with making some tough choices this holiday season, if the animals aren't adopted soon. A temporary fix would be if these little guys and gals would be taken by foster "parents" for a few weeks.

"We are begging foster parents. We give you free medications, all the supplies you need. We make it as easy as possible. All you have to do is give them a home and show them some love. You could save a life," Stevens said.

The Hamilton County Animal Shelter is offering a Black Friday special. The earlier you "shop" for animals, the better discount.

The shelter will open early at 8 am All cats and dogs can be adopted for as little as $15.