As people lose jobs, relocate, refinance and re-prioritize, sometimes pets are left behind. The Animal Protective Foundation in Scotia has been taking in more animals over the past year, as a direct result of the poor economy. Because of the number of pets looking for homes, the APF has had to come up with news ways to find arrangements for displaced pets permanent or temporary.
With that need in mind, the Scotia-based shelter recently held a Thrifty Kitty and Bargain Hound Garage Sale, which offered pet merchandise at prices close to 50 percent off.
Marguerite Pearson of the APF said the sale benefited both the shelter and those families that may be struggling to support their pets.
People are definitely looking to pinch pennies and for bargains. We are grateful to the many people who supported it, either by donating or purchasing,` said Pearson.
The APF has also started a section of the Web site, www.animalprotective.org, to help struggling pet owners learn about options other than bringing their pets to shelters. Information on the site includes listings of pet-friendly rentals for those who may be moving out of their homes, reduced-cost spaying and neutering options, assistance for domestic violence victims and local rabies clinics.
The APF has also partnered with the Schenectady City Mission, which has agreed to dispense pet food and cat litter supplies to those who have demonstrated hardship and whose only other option is to surrender their pet.
Elizabeth Chamberlain of the City Mission said she often sees struggling people worried about feeding their pets, which are a part of the family to many people.
`We want people to know they have an option, we are here working with the APF to try and help people to keep their pets and avoid surrendering them,` said Chamberlain.
Pearson said they are unable to raise as much money through fundraising and community support because there are so many other areas of need that are in even greater demand, such as food pantries.
`The poor economy is causing more people to need our services, and also impacting our fundraising efforts. We aren’t able to increase adoptions with inexpensive pets. Many people have to move based on economy and many can’t take pets with them. Thus they end up here,` said Pearson.
Pearson said that another problem is that people who are forced into foreclosure often leave their pets in the homes, and even renters who can no longer make monthly payments can feel they have no choice but to leave a pet in a vacant building or apartment. The APF will always take a pet that has no other living arrangement.
As APF officials look to the future, they feel having responsible pet owners will someday decrease the number of unwanted animals sitting in shelters. They offer summer workshops for young pet owners, starting at the preschool level. The classes teach children how to be responsible, loving pet owners.
To find out more on how you can support the shelter or take a pet class go to www.animalprotective.org.
`We urge people to continue to support us in any way they can ` cash or in-kind donations, adopting pets, volunteering, encouraging people to use our low-cost spay and neuter programs,` said Pearson.“