Abandoned Animals A Sign Of The Economic Crisis
A large portion of Americans are unable or unwilling to find homes for their animals after they have become homeless themselves. Even when owners do turn a pet in to a shelter, the chance of them being euthanized is quite high. Animal shelters are short on space, limited on supplies, and face budget cuts. Pets that would once have found a new home can only be euthanized, or even if they have a chance of being adopted, they have to wait much longer than before.
In 2008, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimated that the number of cats and dogs who were at risk of becoming homeless due to the economic crisis was between 500,000 and 1 million. Rescue agencies reported that they could no longer take dogs from the shelters, as they were facing more and more owners coming to them and asking them to keep their pets. Most of them said that they could not afford having the pets anymore.
While some people have indeed lost their homes, which was the main reason why they were abandoning their pets, others were just invoking the foreclosures. Economy and home foreclosure had become the most frequent excuse of owners who were not willing to take care of their pets. With so many people moving out of their homes, and others moving into apartments that do not allow pets, shelters could not cope with the larger numbers. Animals were being abandoned even before the housing crisis, but the numbers have been increasing recently at an alarming rate.
Expensive veterinary care is another harsh reality pet owners are facing. The health and wellbeing of pets depend on the care that unfortunately comes with substantial costs. Pet food and regular veterinary care are a must for companion animals, but costs quickly add up.
There are fewer potential adopters in a weak economy. However, for those who still consider adoption, there are potential benefits in choosing to adopt a pet abandoned by its previous owner. Many of the abandoned pets have some degree of training. New owners have a greater chance of finding out their detailed history and special needs when the animals have been abandoned recently.