ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Local shelters say they are fed up with pet owners abandoning their animals on their doorstep without telling anyone.

Last week, when workers came in for their morning shift at PAWS Humane Society, at 7282 N Cherryvale Mall Drive, they found three cats abandoned at their doorstep.

Executive director Susan Golan says that’s not how things are done. The shelter maintains an active waiting list for animals to be surrendered.

“We are not a warehouse for animals. We run out of space. We run out of resources. We want the animals being cared for, properly,” she said.

PAWS has a hotline for pet owners with an issue to be put on a list to surrender the animal for adoption.

“When people bypass the waiting lists — people who may have been waiting several months — [they] get shoved back even further on the list. It really is not fair when they’re trying to do the right thing.”

Golan said the incident is not the first time the shelter has had animals dropped off anonymously at their doorstep.

“The shelters cannot do it all. We just can’t,” said Golan. “And I asked Noah’s Ark, [Winnebago County Animal Shelter]… There’s just so much space and, so much ability. We have to care for a certain number of animals. And there’s just more than we have space for.”

She said that one time, an owner chained an abandoned dog to the building’s fence and by the next morning, the dog had died.

“It was heartbreaking that the dog was living in the state that it lived in,” Golan said.

She urged the community to help by volunteering or giving animals a foster home.

“If the community gets involved and is willing to hold onto these animals that need placement, whether they need to be bottle fed, we will train them, we will give supplies,” she said. “But we cannot take them all in. We just don’t have enough…people to bottle feed and enough resources.”