Friday, December 26, 2008

Abandoning Fido and Fluffy

The increasing burden of simply supporting themselves has become a desperate plight for many pets. As they are faced with the choice of feeding their families or handling pets' expenses, families have been taking their pets to shelters - and shelters are full up.

In a Virginia Beach program a spokesperson reported; "The program received 18 applications within its first week. Some of those people have never experienced hardship until now, and therefore, neither have their pets, McNally said."

The rescue of animals has always been sadly necessary. Even in a nearby decreasingly rural area, abandoned animals turn up all too often. A friend, Martha, took on abandoned animals that came to her family's farm, until she now has around 300 dogs. She has turned that farm into a no-kill shelter that is supported by donations, which include bequests for permanent residents. Martha told me in a phone conversation this morning that the requests she has been getting have increased by about 30%, and just this week she found two puppies had been put over the fence into her care. She is getting about 15 calls a week from people who have had to move, increasingly those reporting that they have lost their homes.

Another friend on a large farm has constant 'donated' pets, which have even included a potbellied pig that she fortunately found another home - not the breakfast table.

Those who keep their pets are getting some help, too.

Animal lovers are marshaling forces in hopes of minimizing the number of pets that go hungry or land in shelters because their owners can no longer afford to feed them.

Free pet-food pantries are being established in cities and towns across the nation by volunteers concerned about the recession's effect on pets. And the long lines of pet owners showing up by the thousands for free kibble are growing more diverse each week. Lower-income people are now joined by middle-class folks pummeled by the economy: white-collar workers recently laid off; elderly people who had been receiving regular cash from relatives who can't afford that anymore; military spouses unable to find work to earn some discretionary income; students who've lost their part-time jobs; high-earners with high debt who are dramatically downshifting.
Most pet owners discover the whereabouts of local pet food banks by contacting animal shelters, traditional food banks or other social service organizations. But many who newly need help have little or no familiarity with social-service networks and aren't sure where to turn. McCaslin has posted contact numbers for nearly 30 pet food banks across the nation on her website (, an action she took after being contacted by hundreds of needy pet owners.

The occupied White House attitude toward the needy has resulted in economic disaster for most Americans. We need to make sure that pets aren't condemned to die for Eat the Poor policies in the executive branch.

No worries, my cat Fluffy is staying with me.

25 more days.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The cost of pet food is really the least of it.

Vet bills when a pet gets sick and/or dies can easily run into four figures.

At a time when many people do not have a spare $1,000-plus.

Most will do what they can to keep beloved pets alive.

But some will not, because they cannot.

4:40 PM  

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