Economy continues to affect shelters

Discussion in 'Dog & Cat Rescue Groups' started by Pippin, Sep 3, 2009.

  1. Pippin

    Pippin Member

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    OWOSSO - As unemployment has risen in a difficult economy, one unnoticed group continues to feel the burden - pets.

    The Shiawassee Humane Society has seen consistent increases in animal drop-offs directly related to the recession. The problems have lasted for so long shelters now are seeing the side effects.

    “Most animals we get come from abandoned homes, because people leave and can't afford them,” SHS kennel manager Amanda Reed said. “But now we're seeing more animals coming in that are sick, in awful condition, and we're just getting more and more coming in.

    “We're seeing both dogs and cats brought in with respiratory problems and mange,” she explained. “The conditions they were living in were obviously pretty bad and people decided to bring them here instead of spending the money to help them.”

    One of the larger problems Reed has noticed is while families come in looking to adopt frequently, many dogs have been at the shelter for many months. Some dogs and cats have been housed for more than a year.

    “The problem isn't getting better, that's for sure, and we're seeing what it's doing to the animals and it's not good,” Reed said.

    The animals have remained at the shelter for two reasons, Reed said. Many families can't afford to take them in and because some of the dogs are not well-behaved.

    “It goes hand-in-hand. The longer they are here, the more it becomes a problem,” she said. “It's not because these are bad animals, it's because they've been treated so badly for so long.”

    Kennel assistant Tim Bishop agreed.

    “The economy ties into everything here. All of these dogs come here for a reason,” he said. “No one has ever brought in an animal and said it was bad, but I've seen behaviors develop. It's getting to be a bigger problem, but that's going to happen if the economy stays where it is.”

    Penni Elsesser, a certified dog trainer from Owosso, has seen animal obedience problems grow in the County.

    “If there are problems with a dog, 98 percent of that has to do with the owners,” Elsesser said. “You have to spend time with your dog and be committed to your dog. Right now people just can't afford it or don't take the time and it's making it worse.”

    Elsesser said the economy can be directly linked to the problems as well.

    “What happens is people can't afford their dogs so they either give them up or go from a house to an apartment,” she said. “It is really not good for the animals to bounce around. Everyone is different and the dogs can get confused with new owners or entirely new people and that's where bad behaviors begin.”

    She added shelter life is better than the alternative of leaving animals on the street, but it still only adds to the problems.

    “Life in a shelter is scary for a dog,” she said. “They have no idea why they're there. We do our best to find them homes, but in the meantime it's scary for them, and sometimes they act out because of it.”

    Reed said despite some optimistic reports on the outlook of the economy, the Humane Society hasn't seen any positive effects yet.

    “There are some people who are at the point where they have to feed their kids instead of their animals,” Reed said. “But there are others who could make it work and don't. They'd rather get rid of their animals instead of their cable.”

    The problems have gotten bad enough that the shelter decided in June it would no longer accept cats due to overpopulation.

    “We announced it in June when we were at a limit of 100 cats,” Reed said. “Our comfortable capacity is around 70. But people keep dropping them off and now we're up to 123.”

    Reed added the Humane Society will consider euthanasia if it continue to see an increase in drop-offs.

    Adoption isn't out of the picture for some residents, however.

    Owosso resident Jason Long recently stopped by the shelter to adopt a cat.

    “It's really upsetting that this is happening to these animals,” Long said. “Especially because there are so many things you can do to make it work. I don't make the best money, but I love animals so I'll do what it takes.”

    Those interested in adoption or in learning more about the Shiawassee Humane Society's practices should call 723-4262.

    Tuesday, September 1, 2009 10:48 AM EDT

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  2. greenmatter

    greenmatter Newbie

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  3. Alexsertu

    Alexsertu Member

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    Hi,
    We have many amazing rescued animals looking for loving homes. All of them have been spayed or neutered and are up to date on vaccines and routine tests. With over 150 dogs and 50 cats available at any time, we know we can find the perfect companion for your family!
     

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