Bad economy affects animal shelters - - Jackson, MS

Madison, MS 11/25/2008

Bad economy affects animal shelters

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By Julie Straw - bio | email

MADISON, MS (WLBT) - Dozens of cats and dogs are patiently waiting for homes at Madison Ark.  Unfortunately there are more people coming to the shelter to drop off pets than to adopt them.

"We have to tell them we are at capacity, we don't have the staff, the volunteers or the space to care for any more animals at this moment," said Madison Ark Executive Director Mandy Nabors.

Madison Ark opened early to house animals retreating from the coast during Hurricane Gustav in September.  More than two months and 75 dogs and cats later the shelter is full.

"Us being a new facility and providing a new place for them to go, there was already an over population of animals that could not be taken care of because of people being able to afford it," said Nabors.

Pets are the new victims of the financial crisis.  Families are struggling to keep and feed pets and animals are left behind in foreclosed homes. 

Community Animal Rescue and Adoption, the "no kill" shelter in Jackson, is overflowing.  Executive Director Jerri Bennett is housing 15 puppies under 11 weeks old at her home.

"It was either take them in or have them taken somewhere probably to be euthanized," said Bennett.

The holiday season has more people looking to adopt furry friends for gifts.  CARA takes adoption very seriously.  They have a strict application process and may require a home check.

"We really want responsible pet owners.  We don't just want this to be a Christmas gift that they are going to discard a few months down the road," said Bennett.

Providing a loving home for the holidays would be appreciated by the animals and the shelters. 

For more information on adoption or donations to CARA go to

To adopt or donate to Madison Ark go to

The Humane Society of the United States offers the following tips to keep your pets and cut back on costs.

Don't Leave Pets Behind

Abandoned pets face a grim future. Many pets trapped inside abandoned homes aren't found until they're on the brink of starvation. Those lucky enough to reach a shelter have about a 50 percent chance of being adopted.
"No one likes to think of leaving their pet at a shelter, but if you can't take him with you, it is by far more humane than leaving them in an apartment or a house alone," said Shain. "Too many animals die alone this way every year. If people are absolutely unable to care for their pet any longer, they should take him or her to their local animal shelter or animal control agency. The shelter can provide food and housing while they try and locate a new home."
Plan Ahead

These outcomes can be avoided by planning ahead as much as possible and finding pet-friendly housing. The following steps can help in the search for pet-friendly rental housing:

  • Give yourself enough time. If possible, check ads and contact real estate agents and rental agencies at least six weeks before you plan to move or when you first learn that foreclosure and/or eviction may be in your future.
  • Make use of available resources. Contact the humane society or animal care and control agency serving the area into which you are moving; the agency may be able to provide you with a list of apartment communities that allow pets. 
  • Gather proof that you're responsible. The more documentation you can provide attesting to your conscientiousness as a pet owner, the more convincing your appeal will be to your future landlord. This can include statements from current property managers and neighbors that you maintain your pet responsibly, as well as copies of veterinary records showing ongoing pet care. 
  • Get it in writing. Once you have permission from a landlord, manager or condominium committee to have a pet, be sure to get it in writing. Comprehensive agreements protect people, property and the pets themselves.

Cutting Costs

Individuals facing financial hardships can reduce the cost of pet ownership in many ways. Some tips include:

  • While buying expensive toys and accessories has become a popular way to demonstrate your attachment to your pet, your pet can be just as happy with less expensive toys or homemade toys. They need your love and attention more than a pricey product. The HSUS has tips for inexpensive toys for both cats and dogs.
  • Keep your pets safe inside or on a leash while walking outside. Animals allowed to roam freely are more prone to accidents and resulting veterinary bills.
  • Let your veterinarian know that finances are tight and ask that he or she prescribe only the most vital vaccinations to keep your pet healthy. 
  • Consider pet health insurance to minimize the shock of an expensive bill from the veterinarian in case of an unexpected illness or injury.



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