GRAYSON COUNTY, Texas (KTEN) - A rising tide of stray dogs means local shelters are packed, leaving large numbers of animals roaming the streets.

"I know they're starving, and they're hungry, and they're hot... so they're looking for shelter, too, in cold places; that could be someone's driveway, garage," said Staci Gay, the manager at Texoma Dog Ranch Rescue in Denison.

In 2023, an estimated 3.2 million dogs entered animal shelters across the country.

"They're way over capacity, if not double the amount of dogs they're supposed to have," Gay said.

With shelters in Grayson County at or over maximum capacity, stray dogs could pose a threat to public safety.

"I've seen posts where dogs that are running around attacking people... they get into a lot of stuff, wreckage," said Gay.

In 2022 Grayson County switched from using Sherman Animal Control Services when police took over the shelter.

The decision may have benefited Sherman taxpayers, but left other cities and unincorporated areas scrambling for options.

"A lot of strays and surrenders coming in, and a lot of them are being turned away due to the shelters all having too many dogs," Gay said.

Some cities, like Denison, have created animal service divisions within the police department. But others use independent organizations like All American Dogs, or find their own ways to deal with the problem.

All American Dogs shelters a limited number of strays from Grayson County.

"The majority of strays that I have seen are pregnant moms, and there's a problem with them not being fixed," Gay said. "So they're going to keep producing litter after litter."

On top its capacity issues, the All American Dogs location in Pilot Point had to evacuate more than 100 dogs after damage from severe weather in early June.

While temperatures heat up, officials say stray animals looking for food can become aggressive towards people and other pets.

Local shelter representatives say the best way to help the problem is to ensure that your pets are spayed or neutered.