At this point, you’re certainly not surprised to hear the words “recession” or “economic crisis.” You would have had to be living under a rock to not have seen, heard, read about or experienced the current state of the (now) global economic downturn. You or someone dear to you may be recently unemployed, you may be tightening your purse strings or you may be even switching to a less expensive dog food. The latter, of course, only applies if you are indeed lucky enough to still be able to properly care for a pet, and have not been forced to hand your four-legged friend over to a shelter.
It sounds unfathomable and drastic, but it’s true–shelters all across the country have reached and surpassed their occupancy levels and are facing numbers the likes of which they’ve never seen before. It’s happening all over.
From West Texas…
“We do our best to get them a home, but if we don’t for some reason, it takes a while, they don’t go anywhere. We’ll keep them here forever if we have to,” Lone Star SPCA Director, Kirk French, said. —NewsWest9.com, January 5, 2009
The heartbreaking truth is that some Georgia residents are having to choose between feeding their pets and feeding themselves, and when the choice becomes that stark hard decisions need to be made. One pair of Miniature Schnauzers was dropped off anonymously at a midwestern shelter. They were up to date on shots, spayed and neutered, nicely groomed and had clean, healthy teeth. The owners apparently hoped that they could be adopted by someone who could continue to care for them. Cases like that break the hearts of shelter workers, who often end up taking dogs and cats home with them until suitable homes can be found. —Atlanta Dogs Examiner, January 5, 2009
“Some of them, when they’re first abandoned, are pretty healthy, not thin, and may be wary of people, but don’t live completely in hiding. But faster than you’d think, they get very thin, they might get mange, or injured somehow, they live in the shadows, and soon they have an air of dejection,” [said] Randy Grim, head of Stray Rescue of St. Louis. — USA Today, January 6, 2009
Nearly 6,000 dogs and cats have been taken to the shelter this year. Of that, 401 were turned in by owners who cited financial pressures – an increase of 75 percent compared to the previous year, officials said. — MLive.com, December 26, 2008
… the story is the same: too many pets, not enough shelter space or resources.
As unemployment rates go up, so do the turn-in rates at shelters, which means that the organizations that are responsible for the care, maintenance and funding of the shelters are forced to deal with a larger number of four-legged clients, but with the same (or fewer) resources. You don’t have to be a mathematician to figure that one out. It quite simply does not work.
At Dogster and Catster, we take great pride in not only being able to provide our members with a fun experience, but with an informative and meaningful one as well. As times get tough for our furry little friends out there, we’d like try to do what we can to make the situation more manageable. Here is a list of Dogster resources that will help you to find out more or lend a hand during these rough times:
As long as this crisis exists, we here at Dogster HQ will do our best to provide our members and readers with news, information and tips relating to the situation. Please feel free to pass links to our dog and cat articles and pet-centric services to any of your pet-loving friends who may find themselves in dire economic straights over the next few months.
Finally, leave a note in the comments section for this post if you have any thoughts or tips that you would like to share with other readers. Together, we can make a difference. And we will.