08/28/09 — Economy taking toll on pets

View Archive

Economy taking toll on pets

By Laura Collins
Published in News on August 28, 2009 1:46 PM

The economy may be affecting more than just people in Wayne County.

Wayne County Animal Control and the Humane Society have both seen an increase in their services.

"The adoption rate has dropped some and the turn in rate (to the animal shelter) is much higher," said Vicki Falconer, acting operational director for Animal Control.

She added that the shelter is close to capacity -- currently housing about 100 animals.

"If I get a dog right now, I'm having to euthanize almost as fast as they come in," she said. "As soon as you sign that dog over, it could be euthanized. It could be a couple hours or a day. We don't guarantee adoptions."

The economy could also be having a cyclic effect on pet owners. People might be less likely to spend money to spay or neuter their pets, which is resulting in more liters being turned in to the shelter, Ms. Falconer said.

"I'm just getting litters upon litters," she said. "This week has been really bad. Mostly it's dogs and cats, but we have gotten ferrets."

In addition to people bringing in litters, the shelter has also seen an increase in strays.

"We're getting a lot more strays in, too. I think the economy could have a part in it," she said. "People are just letting (their pets) go, thinking they're hunters and they can fend on their own, but they really can't."

Ms. Falconer encourages people to bring their pets to the animal shelter only as a last resort. If people turn in their pet for financial reasons, she often directs them to the Humane Society, which has a pet food pantry.

The food pantry is every third Sunday of the month at Carolina Mini Storage on Berkeley Boulevard.

"It's been incredible and is very widely received," said Barrett Parker, president of the Wayne County Humane Society. "We're really doing a good job helping people in Wayne County."

The pantry has been running since October 2008 and assists about 80 families each month.

"They tell us, 'Without you, we would have to give our animals up,'" Parker said. "Loss of job, the economy and medical expenses have been some of the top reasons."

The pantry operates on donations. To donate to the pantry, send money to P.O. Box 821, Goldsboro, N.C. 27533. Dog or cat food donations can be dropped off at Carolina Mini Storage, 206 N. Berkeley Blvd. For more information on the pet food pantry call the Humane Society at 919-736-PETS or Parker at 919-922-4312.