PARIS, Tex. (KXII) -- Last week, a woman stopped her car on the side of State Highway 24 on her way to Paris to investigate a box she found there.
When she got closer, her worst fears were realized.
A puppy had died after it was hit by a car and crawled back to the crate and bowls of frozen food and water that had been left for it there.
Humane Association Shelter Liaison Stephanie Corely says what that woman saw as an example of animal abandonment and abuse in Lamar County is actually evidence of a different problem here.
"We've had a longer puppy season than normal because we've had a warmer fall and even we're just now getting to see some winter weather," said Corely. "So we've had mama dogs having puppies a little bit longer than what they would normally do."
The dog found on the side of the road was a stray someone had set food and shelter out for, hoping to protect it.
Corely says she sees hundreds of dogs like this come through the shelter.
"This shelter alone, last Saturday we moved out 12 dogs that were sitting on this floor and they went to a rescue in North Dakota, three rescues in North Dakota," said Corely. "Then I came back on Monday and then we were completely code red, full again."
LCHA is working hard to find a place for every animal by contacting shelters all over the country, but the demand is great for a place for them to stay until their rescue can take them in.
"A big part of getting them to other states is having them sit in a foster home for two or three weeks at a time," said Corely.
Corely says anyone from college students to stay-at-home parents to people with full-time jobs can foster the right animal and the reward is priceless.
"That sigh of relief and their comfort, when they just know that they're safe," said Corely. That, that moment is when you know that you just absolutely changed this dog's life."
Corely says the LCHA will continue working to fix the stray dog issue in Paris, but the more foster volunteers, the faster progress can be made.
You can pick up a foster application at the shelter.