.
April 23rd, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Recession means more abandoned pets

ALT TEXT

Lola the cat reaches under her enclosure at the Sacramento SPCA. Lola was surrendered to the shelter back in February when her owner’s home was foreclosed upon. (PHOTO CREDIT: David Paul Morris/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With all the stories about the bad economy, here's something you probably haven't heard about:

The Detroit News reports an unprecedented number of abandoned cats and dogs being left behind in foreclosed homes, in dumpsters and in parking lots all around the city. Meanwhile more people who bring their pets to shelters are saying they've lost their jobs and can't afford to care for them. Or, after losing their homes, they're moving to apartments that don't allow pets.

And it's not just Michigan. The American Humane Association estimates that with 8,000 houses going into foreclosure every day, between 15,000 and 26,000 animals are in danger of losing their homes daily.

A recent national survey by petfinder.com finds that 84 percent of shelters and rescue groups are caring for more pets because of the economy; and as you might expect, 37 percent of them report seeing a decrease in pet adoptions in the last year.

Some shelters are trying to help people keep their pets by creating pet food assistance programs. There are groups donating pet food to seniors - some of whom had been feeding delivered meals meant for them to their pets.

Animal groups encourage people who have lost their homes to take time to plan for their pet; to try and find an apartment that will accept animals and not just leave them behind to fend for themselves. They can't.

Here’s my question to you: In light of the recession, what can be done about the growing number of abandoned pets?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Pat writes:
It's time for all of us to make sacrifices. We've accepted two pets we didn't really want from people losing their ability to keep them, with the understanding that they are welcome to have them back or come visit at any time. Otherwise, we're taking 100% responsibility. Landlords can afford to be a bit less "strict" on their pet policies, and treat people and their fuzzy friends on a case-by-case basis.

Merriett writes:
If you are financially able to support a pet, please consider adopting one of these abandoned animals at a shelter rather than purchasing an expensive purebred. Likewise, if you do not have a strong financial base, please reconsider before purchasing any pets on impulse.

Jim writes:
I don't have a problem with responsible pet owners who take their little charges to an animal shelter when they can no longer properly care for them. However, those that leave them in abandoned homes, dumpsters and parking lots without food or water ought to be euthanized along with other sick and hopeless mammals. And this is from a guy who thinks PETA is a bunch of nut cases.

Peter from Florida writes:
I see this problem first-hand as a volunteer at the Orlando SPCA. The many people out there in the market for a pet need to know that these defenseless animals in shelters are like any other animals that you'll find in your local pet stores or from a breeder. Whether a purebred, mixed breed, or just your typical, run-of-the-mill dog or cat, they are beautiful animals, capable of providing unconditional love, and they are the unspoken victims of this recession. Go adopt and save a life!

Rob writes:
Jack, This is something that I never thought of. It breaks my heart. Forget bailing out GM – let's take care of the cats and the dogs. GM got themselves into this mess through their own greed and incompetence. These animals did nothing wrong to be left in dumpsters and in shelters!


Filed under: Recession
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Jenn

    Perhaps the favored stimulus package is not the right approach in this situation. Money is tight across the board, but time is not. If we cannot prevent the abandoning of pets, then we should donate our services to pet shelters by cleaning and caring for these animals. Who knows, the time spent caring for the animals may even be therapeutic and rewarding!

    Jenn, New Haven, CT

    April 23, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  2. David

    This is just tragic as "our" beloved pets are very much like children who depend on us for the basics of life and love. There should be more programs to assist those hit hard by the recession and foreclosure to need help in providing for their pets or finding housing that will accept their pets. Housing should accept pets and it should be illegal to ban them. Pets provide companionship and pet ownership has proven beneficial to over-all good health and well-being. We need to ensure the best interests to pets and pet owners by keeping them together through crisis...they give so much back for so little in return and it's all "unconditional" love.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  3. Chris

    Some of these people are just desparate; others are simply cruel, careless and thoughtless. The helpless animals should not have to suffer. One thing that can be done is for those who are able to "open their homes" and take in one or more of these unfortunate, loving creatures. My wife and I have three adoptees in addition to two we owned.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  4. Jan Morency

    I can't think of anything more heart-wrenching than having to turn your pets over to a rescue group or abandon them. Part of the problem is that it is very hard to find a rental property that allows pets. And often, the landlord who does allow pets requires a large security deposit on the property. Rescue groups can only handle so much and they in turn are overwhelmed trying to find suitable homes for the animals. If more financial institutions would work with the homeowners to lower their mortgage payments, refinance the loans at an affordable payment plan it would help. Also, landlords should offer affordable rent with a caveat that the pet owners are responsible for any damage to the property caused by the pets. In my area there are tons of houses on the market now that haven't sold so are being offered as rentals, at twice to three times what a mortgage on the same property would be. It's outrageous, and it's making it impossible for folks to find suitable, affordable housing that allows you to keep your furry or feathered friends. Very sad. Jan

    April 23, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  5. Leisa Jones

    The most important thing we can do is SPAY AND NEUTER!!!!! There is a place for showdogs and breeders and it is in the show ring, not in our backyards. If everyone not involved in showing their dog or cat would spay and neuter their pet, we could put an end to homeless animals completely.

    Greenville, SC

    April 23, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  6. Dawn

    Maybe they can place some of the abandoned pets in hospitals or nursing homes. The research has shown pets help people heal faster, stay healthier and and certainly provide companionship to those confined and lonely.

    Joliet, IL

    April 23, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  7. jenn

    i don't know what can be done, but i look at my pets like my children, they depend on you for everything and when you make the commitment to care for a pet, you make that commitment for the life of the animal. would you drop off your kid at a shelter if you faced foreclosure?

    i feel horrible for people losing their homes, but that does not exempt you from responsibility for your pet. i too am a victim, my husband and i rent a run down little place right now, but we can't afford to buy a home and it's the only place that allowed us to bring our two cats with us when we were evicted due to foreclosure on my in-laws property. i never once even thought to leave my two cats at a shelter. NEVER EVER.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  8. Doug Hochstedler

    Pets are family members – they should not be left behind no matter what the reason. It is the pet owner's responsibility to keep the animal until they can find a new home.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  9. Ellen

    There is no reason for pet charities to have to spend resources on housing, feeding, and relocating pets, that have loving families caught in a financial bind, in new homes. We "adopt" children across the globe through charities, so create an "sponsor a family's pets" program domestically through some organization for families who are facing financial, rather than relocation, problems. For $100 a pet, or whatever appropriate amount is needed, people could register their pets, get them shots, plus pick up food and supplies on a regular basis.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  10. danny

    Jack, I think we need spay and neuter all animals that are not used for breeding( ie pedigree or purebred) set traps in cities and where ever there is an infestation problem. This needs to be mandatory. I know that the best dogs are often mutts,but breeding these individuals can really screw up the gene pool,and if they are bred, one will never get progency that will resemble either parent.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  11. Isle Piszko

    1st. We need stricter laws on spaying/neutering.
    2nd. I think an adopt a pet program might work if the people are struggling to feed the pets.
    3rd. I think Ted Turner should donate part of his land to pets in this crisis and build shelters.
    4th. I like the idea of taxing luxury items more heavily to help pay for programs such as this.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  12. Marcia H

    It's heartbreaking for both the owners and the pets. I live in southwest Missouri and the Humane Society here will come right out and tell you they have a 70% "kill rate". We had a very sweet chocolate Lab show up at our home several years ago. After running an ad in the local paper, posting Dog Found bulletins at local vets and pet stores, we called the local Humane Society. We were told we could bring him in but they had puppies they were unable to place that were being euthanized. Needless to say we still have him (and 4 other dogs) and he is a wonderful dog. There has to be some sort of accountability for breeders and pet owners. To simply kill and replace is just cruel.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  13. dia

    The government is throwing money in all directions, they need to throw some to the animals that have lost there homes due to the economy. Its not the animals faults that there families lost everything. As usual the domestic pets are at the bottom of the list for help. If I can donate a few dollars every month to the homeless animals then I am sure the government can do the same.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  14. Charlie Starkey (Trenton, NJ)

    I volunteer at an urban animal shelter in Trenton, New Jersey. It's not pretty. Most of these places are not clean and well-appointed like those featured on the animal welfare shows on Animal Planet, far from it. These facilities would not be successful in saving abandoned and neglected animals were it not for the heroic efforts of volunteer groups and individuals involved in pet fostering and finding them homes, plus the efforts of vets who offer discounted healthcare and spay-neuter services. Everyone's resources are stretched to the limit, but volunteerism lies at the core of the solution. Anyone who can afford to bring a homeless pet into their home and care for them, even for the short term, is doing a great service to the animals, their community, and to themselves.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  15. Theresa

    More food assistance and foster care programs are needed. There also needs to be more awareness about these programs and shelters. Abandonement simply cannot be an option.

    While having pets may seem like a luxury item, pet companions increase happiness and improve health. It may be all some people have in their lives.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  16. Cindy ODell

    There are so many things one can give up before a pet . But if you find after those extra lattes and carry out dinners or the extra ipod/cell phones are gone you still have to let the pet go Try and find people to help there are lots of organizations out there find one.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  17. Courtney in KY

    I lived in many apartments with pets, it's not that difficult to find unless you are renting an upscale apartment, which is unlikely if you just lost your house. You can also buy much cheaper food. Bottom line: people are complacent and do not even try. Another reason to SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PETS!

    April 23, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  18. Jennifer Ripplinger

    My husband and I have adopted a dog and two cats from our local humane society. Our dog, a purebread black lab, was already house and obedience trained and our kitties are very friendly. Will never buy another animal from a breeder. Adopt and spay/neuter your animals.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  19. Nora Edwards

    There are people willing to contribute to a program specifically designed for pet food assistance. But when I tried to donate pet food in my area (North Texas), I was unable to find a shelter or food bank that accepted pet food donations for the general public. Meals on Wheels is helpful for Seniors. Money is welcome at food banks and shelters and is needed, but they do not guarantee that it will be used for pet food. So a list of places accepting and distributing pet food would be greatly appreciated by those wanting to give and those needing the help to keep their beloved pets.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  20. Della

    Working together to to try and help get food to those that take care of their pets but need help with food. I know that I help abandon animals and feed them every night. My vet knows how I feel about them and he helps me out pricewise if they need medical attention. My friends and neighbors work together and we help eachother with things that we need. IE: If I have extra food and they have something extra we share. The most important thing that needs to be remembered is that pets are family they are not a piece of property. There has to be something that you can give up instead of giving up a true life friend. I think that people are giving up to easily and that is sad because in a place where loyalty is hard to find and even sometimes impossible to find our pets provide it no matter what.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  21. Garrick, Atlanta, GA

    We can stop viewing pets as people. Seriously. I live in Atlanta and I saw first hand a vocal part of this nation go insane over the lives of seven pitbulls in the wake of the Michael Vick chaos. His acts were a disgrace. However, there are people walking our streets who destroy the lives of human beings. The aforementioned global recession, for instance, has been fueled by the unregulated greed of a small portion of our society. The people who acted in absolute greed are protected as bailed out bankers, loan officers, US Senators and other members of Congress and government. They are defended, instead of being called out as the greedy home owners who only wanted more along with the reporting media that did not make a sound as our nation's economy fell apart. A person needs a license to legally operate a vehicle or truck. That same person then needs to purchase automobile insurance. Perhaps we should look into those who purchase pets having some form of license and insurance. A part of that insurance can be placed in a trust and used in times like these or other times when the life of vicious pitbulls exceed the life of humans. Wait a minute Jack, the money would only be used to bailout poorly run automobile companies, insurance giants, banks and fund wars in places that do not want us (Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan). What was I thinking? A government fund for bad times is like a unicorn. They do not really exist! Let's call a spade, a spade. Abandoned pets are like balanced budgets.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  22. Jennifer from Montvale, New Jersey

    Local shelters could initiate a "holding" program for pet owners who don't want to permanently give up their animals. The pet owner could pay a monthly fee (mutually agreed upon by the shelter and pet owner) and stll have the option to retrieve their pet when financial or living conditions improve. The pet owner would have the peace of mind that their pet is being cared for, and the shelters would received some much-needed additional funds.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  23. Vivian

    I have discussed this matter with family already. If I were to loose my home I have a home for my three cats another home for my dog and a home for my horse. All temporary situations until I get back on my feet. So far I've been ok. These are family memebers, we wouldn't leave our children behind or our aging parents in a dumpster. I can't imagine throwing away my four legged kids.

    If I could I'd adopt lots of animals.

    I encourage people to prepare for the worst in this economy. Plan ahead and be prepared.

    From Clarke County, VA

    April 23, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  24. Julie Denham

    I understand that the recession is causing people to give up their pets, however people make commitments when obtaining a pet. If everyone who still can afford a cat or dog..could adopt one, or provide respite care until the owner can afford the pet again, then we have helped some people who have made that commitment. Others that get a pet just for the fun of owning a pet should realize that a pet can live a number of years. How I cried when my 19 year old ShihTzu, Suzie, died in my arms, on the way to the vet, to be euthanized........it broke my heart!

    April 23, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  25. Allen Meyers

    I belong to a group in Southern California that rescues neglected, abused, and abandoned pet rabbits as well as other small creatures like Chinchillas. I'm taking care of 10 rabbits right now...some are my own, some are fosters. Eight out of the ten I have were rescued out of the Orange County Animal Care Services Shelter in Orange, CA...some were ill there (at the shelter) and were taken out out of that situation to be cared for (since they probably faced certain death otherwise). Others were at or near their "time limit"...most were someone's pet at one time or another. And that's extremely sad for me because they are wonderful animals. Alot of people still don't understand how to properly care for pet rabbits. They are NOT impulse buys like toys. They are a pet, like a dog or cat, that need everyday care and people must find ways to take the responsibility for their care. One of the greatest things that a pet owner can do is to get that animal neutered/spayed. Unfortunately, some people don't seem to understand that, yes, you CAN neuter/spay your rabbit and that there ARE good low cost neuter/spay clinics out there. The only catch is that people MUST find a vet clinic that is "rabbit savvy" (know how to properly neuter/spay rabbits), since not all animal hospitals and clinics have staff that are trained to do so.

    So BEFORE you dump your animal somewhere PLEASE call around and try and find a rescue group that may be able to take the animal or one that can provide information on other options. Dumping any animal is like killing it, especially for rabbits.

    Thank You

    April 23, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  26. Kari Koche

    I don’t think that many have realized that this is still a buyers market and that includes when it come to renting. Even rental properties are in need of getting people in their apartments or houses and if you want to push the issue you might win. If they want you bad enough they will work with you. I have found that Americans just accept what the conditions are instead of trying to negation them. If you do get to have your pets at a place that didn’t allow them make sure that it is in the rental agreement that you are allowed the pet.

    Also, if you have a medical need to have a pet for anything to help you get around to depression you have the ability to get a doctor’s note to have the pet. The owners of the rental property can get in trouble by not letting you have the pet just as the utilities companies can get into trouble for turning your electrics off if you have a machine for medical needs.

    If you really want to keep your pet there is always a way. I have only given away one pet in my lifetime and that was a cat. When I was in the military, I was going to leave a duty station and had already done my paper work to leave before I found the cat. I just didn’t abandon the cat I gave him to a military family with three girls.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  27. LUCI - ILLINOIS

    It is a sad thing, maybe Cheney/Bushand buddies can take a bunch of pets into their homes, since they are the ones that made this mess.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  28. lesly

    one thing for sure – don't dump them in the streets to fend for themselves as I see done here in NYC – in the middle of the winter – and no one has the heart to feed them.... 4 cans of food cost $2.50 – Have a heart and feed those helpless little beasts! They give us so much love. We owe them.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  29. Jayne from Canyon Lake,Texas

    Don't compound the problem by letting your pet contribute more unwanted puppies and kittens! There just aren't enough homes for them all, and every new offspring your pet brings into the world is a chance lost for a cat or dog that needs a home. Go online and search for low-cost spay and neuter clinics in your area if you are having trouble affording it. Your pet will be happier, live longer, and you will be saving the lives of abandoned pets already in shelters. If you are in a position to contribute to an animal shelter –wherever you are - they need your help!

    April 23, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  30. Willa, East Stroudsburg, PA

    Landlords can help by easing up on pet policies and give the OK to small dogs and cats. Local vets could volunteer a regular pet clinic (say once a month?) for financially troubled pet owners (offer free or low cost vaccinations, services etc.). Food drives should also be geared to pets and include food for them as well. Local supermarkets and private citizens can help by donating pet food and pet supplies. Schools and businesses can help by hosting events that promote the adoption of homeless animals.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  31. Rodger

    One way is to simply reduce the number of unwanted pets. "puppy mills" and unchecked sales of pets has led to too many. All pets not intended to be bred should be required to be spayed or neutered BY LAQ. An unspayed female cat, her mate and all of their offspring can add up to 11,606,077 cats in 9 years. To see a graphic depiction of how quickly cats can multiply, click here (Spay USA) (PDF).
    An unspayed female dog, her mate and all of their puppies
    and their puppies’ puppies, if none are ever neutered or spayed, add up to 67,000 dogs in 6 years. To see a graphic depiction of how quickly dogs can multiply, click here (Spay USA) (PDF).

    April 23, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  32. Jeff

    This is a horrible thing. IMO, when you get your pet, YOU GET THEM FOR LIFE. You would not leave your children behind because you lost your job, or the apartment would not take kids... you would find a way to make it work.

    Planning for the future is a big start. Makeing sure you can afford a pet before you get one is another thing to think about. For the time being, there is always the option of getting the cheapest pet food you can buy.

    It basically comes down to this I think. If you lose your job, you will be making cutbacks anyway, you will just need to cutback a little more.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  33. brenda king

    Another problem is when people facing foreclosure leave their pets in the hope that someone else will take them in. Dogs and cats have died of starvation locked in homes that lenders haven't bothered to visit after foreclosure.

    My lovely Gracie is the only survivor of three very small puppies left to fend for themselves last year by an evicted owner. Now at 70 lbs she is my constant companion.

    When people suffer, animals suffer more and it's a sad situation as shelters are stretched to the limit and animals euthanized for no reason except overpopulation. What sickens me are those who don't have the courage to take their animals to a shelter where at least they won't starve – but instead leave them in homes, in fenced yards or abandoned by the roadside. It's cowardly.

    No one should be BUYING dogs or cats these days – there are so many gorgeous (and often purebred) pets available at local shelters.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  34. Sina (Toronto, Canada)

    If retailers bring down their own private label store brand pet food prices it can provide an alternate and attractive venue for pet owners to be able to afford feeding their pets. Most packaged good products have gone through a price increase since last year. Although this applies, to a degree, to private label store brands the retailers who carry their own store brands have a lot more playing room with their margins given their own brand's low Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). Hence, they can increase their price gap vs. national corporate brands. The quality of pet food in most private label store brands is usually comparable to national corporate brands which in combination with their lower prices make a very attractive combination for those who have a hard time affording to feed their pets.

    As a general market trend the sale of private label store brand pet food is increasing in North America because of their lower prices.

    Sina
    Toronto, Canada

    April 23, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  35. Tom

    Naturally we need a pet Czar, congressional hearings, and someone needs to blame this problem on the failed policies of the last eight years. Or, we could limit the number of pets a citizen has the right to own in the first place. The true solution is to get government out of the way of the economic recovery that would take place if we lower taxes and take steps to encourage manufacturing jobs here, then pet owners would be able to afford to keep their pets.
    Tom from South Beloit, IL

    April 23, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  36. Tino

    When I heard the first reporting of this I thought how stupid and cruel. How can anybody give up a pet if they really love it. How much more can a pet cost to keep, really. A list of those who do this should be kept and when the economy picks up they should be forbidden from ever getting another pet. Idiots!!

    Tino, NY

    April 23, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  37. Jennifer Reed

    I think it should be mandatory that all veterinary clinics spay or neuter a certain number of cats and dogs per month free of charge – whether they the animals have homes or they are strays that someone brings in. At least if these poor animals are spayed or neutered, they won't breed any more unwanted offspring. Spaying and neutering also helps keep animals free of illness or disease if they are stray.

    WE HAVE TO START SOMEWHERE TO KEEP THE POPULATION DOWN!

    from East Syracuse, New York

    April 23, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  38. Morgan

    Pets are like family members and should be treated as such. Would you leave your child behind if you were forced to move out of your home? No. At the very least, have the decency to take your pet to a shelter where it has a chance of finding a new home.

    If you are one of the lucky ones in this economy who have resources to spare, please take a moment to consider donating food or money to your local animal shelter to help support the ever growing pet population they are caring for.

    –Morgan, from St. Paul, Minnesota

    April 23, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  39. Susan Loy

    Let us be creative in our thinking! Our government could invest some of that bailout money into spay and neuter programs across the country. This type of program would help to prevent future pet population explosions and reduce expenses to cities.

    I know many pet owners would like to spay and neuter their pets, but can 't afford to pay the full cost. Why not create a split fee program with some of those bailout funds? At least that way we can do some good and feel good about where our money is being spent. Value for our tax money. What a novel idea!

    April 23, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  40. Ted, Beaverton,OR

    If the house gets foreclosed, there should be no abandonment. Let the banks set up a pet-care center. Since they are slow at making loans and making money hand over fist now on usurious credit card rates, they should have plenty extra cash to do it. They certainly have plenty of square feet of houses to convert to pet-centers. It would also create jobs and housing for some of the people tossed out on the street.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  41. LUCI - ILLINOIS

    Send them to Bush, Cheney, and the mortgage companys. They are the ones that caused this big mess.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  42. Barbara Stam

    There are more and more pet friendly rentals all over the United States. I feel for someone who loses their home but there are few excuses for abandoning a pet. Many people give up pets before really trying to find a place that can accept them. They think the human -animal bond only applies to humans, but animals feel it to.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  43. Sophie, New Brunswick, Canada

    I cannot imagine what people are going through: having to abandon their pet. I cannot imagine my life without my dog, LadyFaye. Abandoning dogs in parking lots, in abandoned houses or their backyards is not the place! Those who do that should be charged with animal cruelty. We have responsibilities towards our pet. If we cannot care for them, it is our responsibility to deliver them to an association that will look after them and ensure they are fed and have access to water. They are living beings just like us and deserve our respect. As for those of us who are working, we should look into donating food to those associations so they can feed them. Now, if you'll excuse me, I am going to take my own advise and get pet food for the Animal Recue League.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  44. Brad

    Age 28 Louisville, KY

    I guess these people will leave their children behind next. If a person is going to have an animal in their care, then they need to make a commitment to that animal and think of it as part of their family. You can't be a "fair weather" parent or guardian and you shouldn't abandon your family. My wife and I have three dogs and it wouldn't even occur to us to abandon any of them over money. We have been hurt severely by this recession, but we have to keep our family together. We're all we've got. My dogs will always be taken care of and have food to eat, even if I don't. They depend on me the same as if they were children and I won't let them down. At least the people who take their animals to shelters are trying to do the right thing. There is absolutely no excuse for the ones who just leave them behind, especially if they are left inside a house.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  45. TheRealBillC

    How about a government bailout? Or at least make pets tax deductable.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  46. Kristine

    I can not afford the pets I have, but I still have a home. I will make my own (much healthier) pet food to save money. My vet has been kind enough to instruct me how to bandage my dog's tail instead of making me pay for visits. If you ask and explain to your vet that times are tough, they will usually give you a break.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  47. Kim

    This breaks my heart. Because shelters are being inundated with recession pets, I have heard of some that come off as judgmental when a pet needs to be surrendered. If people were less afraid of the judging, maybe they would be more inclined to turn the pet in at a shelter instead of leaving it abandoned.

    Another thought is maybe have "surrender days" at local pet stores as well as "adoption days"...with radio advertising. Everyone knows where their local pet stores are...but does everyone know where their local shelter is?

    April 23, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  48. James

    I wish there was a simple answer to this. I would never leave my pets behind, and I can't hold a very high opinion of people who would.

    I hope that more landlords become open to pets.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  49. Jeff from Peoria

    Jack – Not much. There's too many people that shouldn't have pets anyway so when it gets a little tough, they are the first ones out the door.

    Jeff – Peoria IL

    April 23, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  50. Angela

    Jack,

    I could not agree more that this is an issue that is constantly being overlooked. I have many pets myself and it does cost to take care of our pets and with the economy like it is we all risk losing our jobs, our houses, and our cars but it does not mean we have to lose or leave behind our pets. There are ways we can survive and have our pets with us and before leaving behind a poor defenseless animal who may not be able to survive on its own one must ask What if this were me? They aren’t just dumb animals they are living creatures that deserve to be treated as we would want treated our self. I feel that there are many ways one can have pets that can reduce the costs of caring for them for instance, generic pet food and table scraps are more cost effective ways of caring for pets and with some thought and planning we can make it not only by our self or as a family but with our best friends “our pets”.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  51. Chester Davis

    This hurts my heart to read this. I guess it is time for food banks for pets too. Why not, I am sure that if we put are mines to it we can start something. Well I guess I put my mine to it and see what I can do.Jack let me get back to you in a few days. Time for a bail out for the pets in are lives.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  52. Iris Campbell

    A solution? That's laughable. It will be ignored, as usual. Besides, "Not in my backyard", nobody seems to have come up with a viable solution to the human beings that are now making their homes in tent cities. The houses from which these people and pets have been kicked to the curb are now falling apart and those that have managed to keep their homes don't have one that is worth the money they are paying anymore. A simple solution, given the mass numbers, would have been to rewrite these loans to keep these people and pets in a home. However, everyone is too busy arguing about the inequality and pointing fingers, which amounts to nothing but a lot of hot air and nothing getting done. If we can't see the forest for the trees in that issue, throwing the pet issue in the mix would result in nothing more than a full mental tilt.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  53. Kyle

    People come first, animals second. Until there are no children in the US starving, pets should not even be a topic of discussion.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  54. Grace - Albany NY

    Why can't some of the money given to bail out banks and everybody else be given to help shelter and feed abandoned animals? They are truly innocent victims of this mess. I can't even imagine leaving my dog and cat behind. That to me is just unbelievable. We could start a national food bank for pets, just like we have for people. If everyone just gave $1, there would be plenty.

    I give money to the Humane Society, Best Friends, Nat Wildlife and other animal agencies. It's not millions, but anything helps. Even though a lot of people don't have anything, there are still a lot who do.

    I'm not advocating socialism, just kindness.

    Grace

    April 23, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  55. Eileen

    This is a sad situation. I always thought as parents of pets, we are responsible for them. May be not. They stick with us through the best of times and the worst... They comfort us when we are down and never judge what we can afford to feed them... Sad...

    Melbourne, FL

    April 23, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  56. Ced

    there is no excuse for abandoning a pet. i understand dire financial circumstances but there are alternatives to leaving the poor pet behind. this is beyond sad...they cant feed themselves...

    here is to wishing more people will seek resources to help rather than simply abandoning...

    April 23, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  57. Markus

    Pathetic. People have no excuses for doing this. They can plan to find an apartment that takes pets if they have to move. If they lost their job, there are options as mentioned for pet food assistance. People that simply abandon their pets without due diligence deserve losing their job and home as far as I am concerned.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  58. Paul B

    This is cruelty of the worst kind. If people cannot be kind to small animals who are dependent on them for survival, how can we expect them to be kind to each other?

    April 23, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  59. Jane (Minnesota)

    Jack: I am on the board of a non-profit animal assistance organization. Its so sad to see what is happening in this economy.

    People do need to remember that it's not only the animals losing their homes people are. For those people who are losing their homes; they should first do all they can to try to keep their pets with them. They should seek out animal ssistance programs in their area and should also try to find a home for the animal through their contacts in case they don't find assistance.

    If they can't keep the animals they should try to find a shelter or rescue group that has the capacity to accept surrendered animals. The animals have a chance to find another home and will be cared for.

    If they cannot find a shelter, they should do the humane thing and have their pet euthanized. As hard as it may be to do, it's more humane treatment than to simply turn them loose or leave them in the home. House pets often do not have the skills to survive on their own & in the case of a declawed cat may not be able to defend themselves.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  60. Mary Ann, Atlanta

    Jack,

    When you adopt an animal, you've made a commitment to care for that animal no matter what. If you lose your home, you find an apartment that allows pets. If you lose your job, you cut back on other things, just as you would if you had children to support. Returning an animal to a shelter is irresponsible and abandoning an animal is irresponsible and cruel. If you don't want to make the commitment, don't adopt in the first place.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  61. Susie

    A greater awareness (perhaps from local shelters) when people adopt animals to have a little foresight about the future. Are you going to be able to keep this pet forever? Can you afford to feed it, take it to the vet, etc. Should you lose your job/home, is there anyone who can take the pet in and give it a good home. No one knows the future, but maybe just a little thinking before adopting, or allowing a pet to have offspring. Come to think of it, maybe a lot of people who have kids should think about those things too.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  62. Jack A. Daniel

    Talk to Obama. I am sure he will have a stimilus plan to buy out abandoned pets. Done.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  63. Susan in Minneapolis, MN

    Ever since I read an article about seniors and others dependent on food shelves who have to choose between feeding themselves and feeding their pets, especially cats (which can't survive on table scraps the way dogs can, not that there are probably a whole lot of table scraps to be had in a household dependent on food shelves), I have made a point of including cat food in every twice-a-week donation I make to our local food shelf. As the article I read put it, for many seniors, their cat is their only companion - the kids don't visit, the grandkids don't write, their cat is all they have. And for them to be forced to choose between adding food for their cat to the balancing equation of "Food, electricity, heat, medicine, rent, and now cat food, which can I afford to buy this month?", or giving away their only companion, is unutterably sad. Don't stop donating food to food shelves - but remember the pets who mean so much to those who rely on the food shelves.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  64. Mike from CA

    This is one of the saddest realities of our recessions Jack. Innocent animals are left to the streets with nobody to care for them and they eventually end up as roadkill. The proper thing to do is bring more funding to our animal shelters and people should take their animals there.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  65. Macushla, Boston, MA

    It's horrid but this won't change until the economy changes and the foreclosures cease. The responsible people are trying to get their pets into shelters...the others...well, the less said the better. We have a responsibility to these animals but when people are so down and out they don't think clearly. You're going to get lots of responses that say they're just animals - who cares. But to many of us, they're family and if I'm out on the streets they're going to be by my side.

    Macushla
    Boston, MA

    April 23, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  66. Amy

    Pass local laws that require landlords or at least complexes to allow pets. This would solve A LOT of pet abandonment regardless of the recession.

    Pass FEDERAL laws that require pet owners to spay or neuter their cat or dog. Overpopulation is our biggest enemy.

    Shut down puppy mills and not allow pet stores to sell puppies and kittens

    The US government is WAY behind the times. Look at how civilized countries like Germany, France, Switzerland and (especially) Austria treat their animals. Dogs are allowed in restaurants, malls, trains and public transportation. In Austria it is illegal to restrain a dog with a chain, choke collar or invisible fence. Once Americans as a whole really and truly care about our pets then we'll start seeing some changes.

    Cities and towns should adopt a plan to sterilize feral cats.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  67. janet grayson

    Make a contribution to local pet food bank (usually the local animal shelter), either of sealed pet food or of cash absolutely earmarked for the feeding of animals. Petition local government more than once for some support for local shelters (we're all taxpayers) and especially for heightened protection for abused animals. And best of all, adopt and cherish a dog or cat–an older one, if possible.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  68. Karen

    First and foremost is providing low-cost spay and neutering to communities to prevent over population. That also assumes that people are educated about the benefits of having their pets spayed and neutered. There are still hold outs who think it is "un-macho" to fix a pet. They need to know that few dogs and cats are of such quality that they truly deserve to reproduce, and that they do just fine without having experienced the "joys" of sex. Then we need to educate people about taking care of their animals. If there were fewer strays and more people taking responsibility who are not in financial distress, those of us involved in rescue could then step in and take care of the ones whose owners can no longer keep their pets or assist in getting them medical care and food. I sympathize with those who are truly between a rock and a hard place trying to make ends meet. I have little sympathy, though for those who buy pets as status symbols and then do not take proper care of them.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  69. Kevan Brown

    Bring them to the estates of all those bankers who took taxpayer money for their institutions. They have the acreage and resources to care for Gods animals until everyone else can get back on their feet.

    Kevan,
    Monkland Ontario, Canada

    April 23, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  70. Susan

    Thank you for bringing this heartbreaking news to the public attention. People can help support the shelters and rescue groups in their area by donating money, pet food, pet supplies and making their home a foster home for a pet in need.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  71. Sharon Brown

    My 6-year-old daughter is having her birthday party this weekend and is asking that guests, in lieu of gifts for the birthday girl, bring items for our local humane society. We will deliver all donations to the humane society. It's less expensive for the parents of the party attendees to buy a couple of cans of cat or dog food, than a child's gift. And, hopefully, it teaches all the kids something about helping others.
    Sharon Brown, Austin TX

    April 23, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  72. Annette Tate

    Thank you for focusing serious discussion on this grave issue! I would hope that rentals would be more open to leasing apartments to people who have pets during this very challenging and transitional time in our economy, particularly given the crisis in the housing area. I think responsible pet owners/guardians would find a way to scrape up additional pet deposit money, if it meant they could keep their pets.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  73. JG

    Unfortunately, many of these animals will be euthanised. There's only so many animal lovers who already take care of their own pets, let alone abandoned ones, including farm animals.

    Even so, if the pet is licensed and abandoned, the state should go after the owner and put his/her butt in jail. Make them pay for the euthanasia, and make them watch it too.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  74. Casey Howell, New Jersey

    Nothing. People don't have money to pay the mortgage. How are they going to be able to take in an animal?

    April 23, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  75. Sonia Prince, NH

    Just a thought, but maybe pass a temporary law to stop breeders from making puppy/kitten sales and force all pets to be spaded or fixed for the next two years until times get better and demand gets higher. There is a time when our human desires for pets become inhumane. We so love them when they are little and times are good, but when times get tough, people break the promise they made to feed and take care of them. I don't see people leaving their kids behind in their foreclosed homes and they made the same promise to them! When people decide they want a pet, they have to foresee fees for spading and $650 worth of vet bills a year. As for my dog, she's run us nearly $10 000 already and she's only 8; everyone asks "What's your cap?" and we respond, we promised to take care of her because of our greed and needs to have a pet in our lives, so we are doing just that. If times gets tough, the dog comes with us!

    April 23, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  76. Katie

    I think it's really, really sad when someone gives their beloved cat or dog or other creature away. I have told my husband that what ever the situation is, I would keep my beloved cat Mittens no matter what.

    Now, would people give away their children when their home is foreclosed? I know an animal and child are different, but they are both loved and both cost money. I think people think of a cat or dog as disposable and when something goes wrong in their life, (foreclosure), they go the easy route, and either dump the poor animal or take it the local Humane Society.

    I think there should be programs in place to help abandoned animals, but like anything...it costs money, and if people do not have money to donate, then the animals get left behind. Someone should at least consider having a good friend or another family member who is in a better situation; take in the animal, until they are back on there feet.

    But DO NOT just toss the animal out like trash!

    April 23, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  77. Thomas Patrick

    I fear little can be done because it goes beyond just the recession. like so many things in America, pet are viewed as disposable; as just acessories to our lives. We, as a society, waste so many things; food, clothes, even relationships – people want a quick fix and the lastest, hottest trend. when times get tough; when they have to work at something, it all goes in the trash. Look at the elderly, the homeless and now family pets – we jettison the weakest of the bunch to save ourselves. Welcome to America.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  78. Pluto

    I wouldn't dump my cat any more than I'd dump my kid. Are you fixing to claim that only liberals dump their pets or some such? I sure would hate to adopt a dog and find it was a conservative dog that wouldn't hunt and just sat in its own crap all day whining.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  79. Michelle

    It breaks my heart to read this. Something must be done! Animals are like children in that they rely on us to provide for them. My pets are part of my family and I could never imagine choosing. I would move and lie and sneak them in. Alot of people in this country do not think this way. To them they are just animals and I say if you feel that way then DO NOT get one! For people who truly want to keep their pets then we must find a way to help. Maybe the government will bail out the pets of this world! And thinking that a domesticated cat can fend for themselves is ridiculous! They have not lived in the streets all their life and they don't know how to survive! Its like putting a child out there and assuming they will know what to do! It doesn't work that way. There must be something we can do!

    April 23, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  80. Tom

    How about not buying a specialty dog, likely from a puupy mill? You know, like a Portugese water dog....

    Get one from the local animal shelter. I adopted two cats and couldn't be happier.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  81. Ray

    Abandoning one's pets because of the recession is like giving up your kids or divorcing your wife/husband. Would you do that? Of course not. It is just the easy way for irresponsible people who should not have had pets in the first place.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  82. Leigh

    Use some of the stimulus money for the states to support existing shelters, and add one or two more shelters to areas hit the hardest.

    Keep spaying and neuturing fees at a low cost. Animals who end up on the streets, who are not fixed, often get pregnant.

    For those who are on the brink, get to a lending institution to take advantage of the assistance made available BEFORE you take drastic steps to leave your pets behind.

    The cat in this picture resembles my own pet, and it is heartbreaking to see this happening. It is just part of the economic collateral damage wreaked upon this country.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  83. David

    Make AIG pay for shelters and food. At least some of their [our] money will be well spent. The vultures feeding the animals, I like the irony.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  84. Patricia Cameron

    Thanks for covering this story. Animals have no voice save for the voices of people who care enough to speak up. Part of the solution would be to ensure that pet owners are protected from housing discrimination. In some provinces of Canada, it is against the law to prevent renters from having pets. That being said, landlords need appropriate protection from irresponsible tenants. Research shows, though, that a responsible pet owner makes a more desirable and longer term tenant and that they are often willing to pay a premium for a home that allows pets. Hey landlords, if you are having a tough time renting your property, allow pets and then do some careful screening: How long have you had your pet? Do you have any references for you pet from neighbors, previous landlords? Is your pet up to date on vaccines? What do you do for your pet while you are at work? etc. It is easy to spot the people who are good pet owners.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  85. Renee

    Jack,

    Why not a 'bail out" for these poor animals? I would much prefer to see my money go to these cats and dogs who are losing their families and homes than corporate America.

    They too are innocent victims of this recession. A small chunk given to these shelters and animal organizations from the trillions of dollars being spent could likely go a long way.

    I'm sure for so many folks it must be heart breaking to have to give up their "family members." How about a one time subsidy (for 6 – 12 months) to assist in need animal owners? Listen up Washington... this is just as important as all the other "bail outs", as it supports the well being and happiness of millions of American animal owners who are struggling to keep all of their "loved ones" together.

    Renee

    Thousand Oaks, CA

    April 23, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  86. Lori Flores

    I think the breeding should stop and the selling of puppies .Yeah it seems impossible because not every human would try to stop that...but I think there has to be a stern action,and an animal lover activist to make this happen. Even someone higher then that like the president. People seem to think humans come first and animals or of equal right just like every living thing on this plant. You think because you are human your above everythign else on this planet ,but your the ones destroy it!!

    April 23, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  87. Rene'

    More people need to consider fostering or adopting instead of buying!!

    April 23, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  88. Gomez

    I would suggest that the shelters advertise pet food drives. I believe that many people would donate pet food if they knew that people were having a hard time taking care of there pets. If there were a location near me i would take the time. It breaks my heart that people are being forced to give up there pets but I also understand that if it's a question of feeding my son or my dog the dog is going to loss.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  89. Susan Trost

    A 'pet-net' should be created. Mortgage lenders should include a flyer during the last stages of foreclosure with links to resources so people don't abandoned their pets. Or even an HSUS hotline number so pet owners can get information on best ways to care for or place their pet.

    Neighborhoods should form 'pet-net' watch groups so if a house that formerly had pets is foreclosed or abandoned the 'pet-net' can gain access to assure no pets have been left behind.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  90. Bess Covert

    In Kansas City Missouri when the local food pantry was running low, the community came together to get others to increase their food and monetary donations. The same needs to happen for these poor animals, the silent victims of the economy.

    People need to donate money, pet supplies and volunteer their time. If people are adopting an animal, they need to support their local humane organizations. Why buy from a breeder when you can save an animal from being euthanized?

    We adopted a second dog recently. Partly because we wanted another dog, partly because we wanted to save a life– help these overcrowded shelters.

    We can all do our part.

    Kansas City Missouri

    April 23, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  91. Pamd

    How and where do people donate to know that the money will be used where it is best needed. I can donate to my local humane society, but if there are other areas harder hit, the assistance may need to also go there.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  92. stevie

    I personally have a decent job, but don't make a whole lot of money. I have 2 dogs and with prices lately, I've still had no problem buying my animals food. Dog food has definately gone up, but it's only like $14.00 every two weeks and that's for a good brand, not generic. When it comes to people having to move to homes that don't allow pets, I've been there done that. I refused to just let my animal go, so I found a good home for him. I think there are plenty of options out there, but I believe people just get lazy and don't care.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  93. Amanda

    It breaks my heart to hear of poor, defenseless animals losing their homes. First, we have to make sure that we're spaying and neutering our animals so we don't have so many already sitting in the shelters. I also think those of us who are wanting animals need to look to shelters first- these are the best animals to get. I have two shelter cats and wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. BUT it is the responsibility of those losing their homes to find a new one for their pets- leaving them behind to fend for themselves is not okay. They are also a part of the family.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  94. Fern

    As The Billionnaires and Multi Millionnaires to donate directly to animal shelters. Also, I would love to have another pet, but I cannot afford the care, i.e. Vet, Medicine, Check Ups, Food, Dog Walker. If for example an eldery person can no longer care for their pets but have the finances, why not set up an account for the pet administered by the Shelter Agencies (to ensure the money is being used properly) and give the pets to adoptive parents wgo would love to care for the pet and now the money is there for the Pet's care.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  95. Jason

    We brought home (1,000 miles) an abandoned dog from our vacation. Even though we already had 2 cats at home. The dog has brought me more laughs in a few months than I've experienced in the past 10 years. Do yourself a favor – take in an extra animal.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  96. Kristie

    This is absolutely heartbreaking. I totally agree with Mr. Cafferty – take time to plan for your pets if there's a chance that you can't keep them. They cannot fend for themselves if left in an abandoned home or on the streets. That's animal neglect....hands down!!!

    April 23, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  97. Colleen Connors

    Perhaps Humane Societies can take in animals as boarders with the caveat that the family continues to care for their pet(s) until the family is able to make arrangements for the pet to live with them again. More apartment and property managers need to accept pets with their renters; and the owners of the pets need to be able to accept responsibility for them.

    Many of the pet food stores are offering reduced costs for pet food, to help ease the financial burden.

    To avoid this problem in the future, society needs to implement control of overpopulation of animals, generally. The amount of animals in shelters, euthanized, and going to feed yards (horses, in particular), each year is ridiculous.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  98. Carol in Central PA

    Everyone who can afford to should donate money, pet food, supplies, and/or their time to their local shelter. Those who can afford to adopt or foster, should do that, too. I'm going to do something this weekend to help out my local shelter.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  99. Shasta

    I know to adopt a cat it's a couple hundred dollars, and if it was less than that, I would be willing to adopt one. I just can't afford the price right now.

    Casey
    Minneapolis, MN

    April 23, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  100. Marsha Newnam

    I cry every time I see photos of abonded pets or read about their fate. I understand that the shelters are doing all they can, but we really need to look for a solution that saves these lives. I wonder if any city/county government has unused facilities that may be use to house these pets? Maybe prisoners that have good behavior could staff the facilities, thereby helping the pets and teaching the prisoners a trade! I am sure it would be time well spent! Instead of these men and women just sitting around all day with nothing to do, constructive activities would be welcomed by most. And maybe the animal rescue groups could help with setting up the facilities (prisoners could help with that too) and then train them on how to care for the animals. Then contact pet food companies and see what help they can provide. It is worth a try to help these poor pets! If I lived in an area that had a prison/jail nearby, I would be talking to government officials about my plan! Hope someone comes up with a viable solution, too many pets have been abandoned and many more will be in the future. Thanks for addressing this problem!

    April 23, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  101. Paul Pothen

    People who would just abandon their pet, as opposed to taking them to a shelter, are just plain garbage

    April 23, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  102. aaron from minneapolis

    Government bailout. Obama should give $1B to animal shelters to provide for food and shelter until they can be adopted. And lets say that any pet that doesn't get adopted in 12 months of being in the program then gets sent to Texas to run about. Or maybe we can donate them to countries where it's common to eat dogs and cats.

    Aaron
    Minneapolis, MN

    April 23, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  103. Ellen Hicks

    Setting up donations for pets so that their owners can keep them would help. That way, the shelters would not be as ovewhelmed. Having people register to foster care for others' pets would be good too.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  104. Ed

    Jack: That's just another extent of the heartbreak many have unfortunately experienced within the past year. I guarantee many of these animals would not have been discarded and left to shelters had circumstances been different. I only hope they have the good fortune of finding a new home.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  105. James Kidd

    Shy of government assistance (TARP for pets, anybody?), this will fall to private contributions and donations. Unfortunately, with such a vast number of pets being given up, it will be nearly impossible to find enough funding to save each and every pet that is abandonded. Perhaps this will be a wake up call to those people that ask "how much is that doggie in the window" and if you don't see yourself being able to take care of that cute, furry bundle of energy through good times and bad, then don't consider adopting it. Personally, I'd sell off any number of my possessions to make sure I could provide for the animals that I committed to taking care of.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  106. Pete Silvia

    Jack
    With all the awful things happening in the world, this is one of the most heart-wrenching. My wife & I have 4 cats, and just lost one to cancer last week. The shelters can only hold so many animals, and if people can't afford to feed them, let alone any vet bills they may incur. The situation looks like it's going to get worse, before it gets better. Is it possible that you could pull some weight around at CNN & set up a post on the website where people can find help in some way? Seems like a small amount of research for the staff there to do and would certainly help our furry friends a whole lot. – Middletown, New York

    April 23, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  107. Idalia Diaz

    There is no much that it can be done. Shelters are exhausted. If the Obama administration has been able to provide for banks, some private companies and for irresponsibles that could not afford to buy that expensive home .... why not for the animal shelters? I am a tax payer. I don't mind my money to be used for this good cause at least, I will agree this time. I own 2 cats and I am currently providing for 6 left behind.

    Hallandale Beach, Fl

    April 23, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  108. catherine cleeremans

    Jack, Hi, This is an epidemic problem/crisis. Unless you are in the rescue or shelter network, you may be unaware of it and the ramifications of more homeless cats and dogs, primarily.

    Thank you for addressing this. More attention and awareness may bring more solutions, even if temporary. Pet food banks for those in need would be beneficial and stimulus support for these helpless members of our society would not be out of the question.

    Lola is adorable.

    Over the last year, I rescued 8 unrelated homeless cats who were abandoned at an industrial spot in Santa Ana, CA. Each one is wonderful. I am at nineteen (cats) now and even as an experienced rescue person, cannot add anymore to my household.

    Regards,

    Catherine

    April 23, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  109. NV Garcia

    This is the time for wealthy individuals of this country to step up and contribute to shelters in order to help these animals. Instead of buying Gucci, they should send their cash to ASPCA or the Humane Society. I am unemployed but just recently sent $100 to the Maltese Association in NYC, if I can do this, so can the wealthy!

    April 23, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  110. Karalyn

    People should seek out rescue groups to help with placement of their pets, rather then dumping them in shelters. Working with rescue allows for placement of the pet with a family who is famliar with that breed or species and also allows the prior owner to pass along relevant information about the pet's needs, likes and dislikes. Although rescue organizations are also seeing an increase in requests for assistance, it is far better and less traumatic for the pet when the owners work with a rescue organization instead of leaving the pet at a shelter.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  111. Kelly Connon

    Perhaps all entities that have shown a profit since receiving their bailout money from tax payers should put some of that towards funding homeless shelters for those that have lost their homes, including their pets. Seems this would qualify for a charitable donation and we know they're always interested in a tax break or another way to hide their assets!

    Centralia, Washington

    April 23, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  112. Cyle in Dublin

    Sadly – euthanize them

    Americans love pets. I have 4 cats myself (all spayed/neutered).
    Most of these animals are dependent on us for daily care
    If we cannot care for them then it is kinder to kill them rather than have an animal eke out a marginal existance as a feral pest.

    Even PETA (hypocrites) euthanizes more than half of the animals they "save" because of a lack of ability to feed and care for the huge volume of pets in need.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  113. Kristen

    I don't know how anyone could ever leave their pet behind. I currently have two cats and even though money is getting tight, I'll do anything to keep them alive and with me, even if that means skipping a meal once a week for myself to pay for their food. Adopting a pet is a lifetime commitment... It's not something to be thrown away simply because things are tough.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  114. jen drake

    Regardless of your financial situation, realize your pet is part of your family, and find what assistance you can find. If you cannot afford your pet, do not leave it abandoned, takeit to a shelter or ask your neighbors, friends, post of web sites, seek help from animal welfare agencies. Do what you can to make sure your pets are cared for and taken care of. They, feel the struggle and hardship as much as you do, they rely on you, don't abandon them or let them down, take care of each other in the best way possible given these difficult times.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  115. Carl from Citrus Heights, California

    Spay and neuter them and give them to anyone who will take them. The sad fate is that we cannot hold our pets to the say duty we must hold each other. I hate sacrificing our pets because we can't afford to take care of them.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  116. George, Dover DE

    Instead of bailing out banks and companies whos bad policies of doing business have left them in a rut, use that money towards something that can actually be helped. Use government funding to set up bigger shelters and better programs to take care of surrendered and abandoned animals, and help find those animals more permanent homes.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  117. Kristen

    I don’t know how anyone could ever leave their pet behind. I currently have two cats and even though money is getting tight, I’ll do anything to keep them alive and with me, even if that means skipping a meal once a week for myself to pay for their food. Adopting a pet is a lifetime commitment… It’s not something to be thrown away simply because things are tough.
    -Kristen from Glendale, Arizona

    April 23, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  118. John Tobin

    Hi Jack,

    I think the programs in place are sufficient, turning the animal over to the shelter and food assistance programs. However, more probably needs to be done to communicate the existence of these programs to people in need. Some people may worry that their pet would be euthanized in a shelter, but most animal shelters do as much as they can to ensure that animals do find new homes. Also, house cats and dogs will have much better prospects for a good life in a shelter than if they are set loose to fend for themselves.

    John Tobin – Ann Arbor, MI

    April 23, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  119. Linda in Arizona

    I have never understood how anyone could abandon a helpless animal. At LEAST, they could take it to a shelter if they truly can't take care of it, not leave it to starve to death, or worse. I don't think anything can be done about it. Some people just don't care about animals. Others may care, but not a lot. Could they leave their child behind in the yard, or locked inside a foreclosed house? Maybe if there weren't laws against it, they could. Personally, I would be one of the old people giving my meals on wheels to the dog or cat, if it was all I had. And if I had to leave my home, I'd live in my truck with my dog before I'd abandon her. There is always something that can be done if people want to do it. These people just don't give a damn. You can't do a thing about that.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  120. Tracy

    I adopted a cat from a shelter last weekend, bringing our household to the maximum of what our city will allow for pets. We now have two dogs and two cats; three of the four pets are rescue animals.
    Winston, the newly adopted cat, was so depressed when I went to the shelter to pick him up that his body was completely limp when he was pciked up and put in the carrier. He barely made a sound in the car and was very quiet when he first got home. After a few hours, he seemed to realize that he was with people who would take care of him. He is already very social and affectionate.

    We can certainly feed and care for the pets we have, and they are very well cared for and loved. We also have children and see this as an opportunity to show them how we can all help out when times are tough.

    It's very sad to see so many abandoned animals. All of our pets are very sweet and have no behavioral issues and seem to appreciate being part of our family. I can't imagine life without them!

    Tracy, Denver, CO

    April 23, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  121. Kelly McEntee

    Jack, I have assisted a couple of friends who were having problems affording their pets by finding a home for their pets with other friends of mine. I also have one family who I supply with pet food each month so they can keep their pets. And all of us can encourage people who plan to get a pet to adopt a rescue animal rather than seek out an animal from a breeder. Shelters and satellite shelters (like my dog's daycare facility) are loaded with adoptable animals right now. Also, take time to promote low cost pet health care solutions, like clinics, to your community whenever you can. People should try whenever possible to keep their pets and seek food donations and help with vet care because even if a family has to leave their home and move to a new location, it is more difficult for a pet to be transitioned to a new family as well. Our pets need us and in stressful times, our emotional health is better with our pets by our side!

    April 23, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  122. RNeal

    How many people are going the extra mile to make sure they have an apartment or stay with a certain relative that best fits the needs of their children? I'd say a large number of people go through this mental calculation when faced with foreclosure as they plan for this unavoidable change in their lives. Why then wouldn't they do the same for an animal companion who is just as dependent upon their owners? This is about responsibility and doing the harder right at a time when things are tough. Abandoning an animal in an empty house, dumpster, or parking lot is the action of a coward. Strength is being responsible to those who are completely dependent upon you, especially in the worst of times.

    Kansas City

    April 23, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  123. Paula Viknyanskiy

    A pet is a member of a family. Abandoning one when times are tough speaks of how low we, humans, are stooping. It is possible to bring a pet to a shelter or find a temporary arrangement; yet, so many die abandonded in locked homes, cars, etc. People who commit these disgusting, inhumane acts don't deserve to be called people. In fact, they're worse than animals. I believe people need to be told about their options, and perhaps given brochures with helpful telephone numbers, addresses, and web sites. I, however, sincerely doubt that anyone who abandons a being solely dependent on them in such a horrific way will listen.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  124. Marion Graham

    The government should provide a little bailout money to animal shelters so that they can lower their surrender fees for pets.

    When you're struggling to put food on the table for your humans, I suppose it's only natural to shudder at the thought of paying a high fee ($40 around here) for surrendering your pet to a shelter. So, you dump your pet in somebody else's neck of the woods (like mine).

    Then, either the animal shelter funded by the local government has to pick up the abandoned pet (like one injured puppy that found its way here), or it starves or gets run over on the highway, or it gets shot to death for attacking the livestock (like here the next time the two current stray dogs roaming around this part of the county show up on my property).

    Please don't dump your unwanted dogs in my neck of the woods. I really do love dogs and am already raising two that were tossed out on the side of the road because nobody wanted them. Two's the limit for my budget.

    Marion in Georgia

    April 23, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  125. Kyle

    Economic stimulus money should be provided to create more non-profit shelters for animals, free spay and neuter programs and pet food assistance programs.

    Personally, I would open a shelter if I received quick and easy funding for it. Right now it's too tedious to apply for non-profit status, apply for grants and conduct fundraising events.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  126. A M

    You seem very worried about cats and dogs. Do you worry the same about people dying out there if not more?

    April 23, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  127. Chris Bojorquez

    My girlfriend and I walk around our apartment complex a few nights a week and feed all the stray cats canned food. They all love the food and they are growing more comfortable with us and frequently let us pet them. It's a win win situation! We get to play with cats and they get fed delicious wet food. People who are have no choice but to move to apartments that don't allow pets can still keep their pets. Their cats will just have to change from indoor to outdoor cats, which i believe the cats will enjoy. What cat wouldn't want to run freely in the grass and bushes. The cat's owners will just have to put out food or find a safe place to feed their pets outdoors. For those pets who have no owners, I encourage people to go out into their neighborhoods and feed and care for strays. If everyone does a little bit it will add up to a lot.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  128. Adam

    I think there has to be some kind of tax break or bailout that can be offered to people adopting pets. Everyone seems to be getting some sort of payout these days... why not add another to the list.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  129. Sarah Legg

    First of all, to reduce this problem from the start, people need to spay and neuter their animals so there aren't as many without permanent homes, period.
    Second of all, veterinarians and all animal lovers alike who have the means should donate their resources whether it be monetary, by volunteering time in a shelter, donating a bag of food, or caring for a friend's animal while they are fall on hard times.
    Another way would be to quit buying animals from pet stores and adopt them from shelters. If there is no market in the stores for puppy and kitty mills to supply to, then there will be less animals abused and abandoned by these opeations. When people start adopting from their local shelter or rescue, naturally the amount of animals in shelters will be reduced. My dog is a rescue and she is the best dog I've had.
    Sarah
    Kansas City, MO

    April 23, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  130. Luis in Phoenix

    The only humane thing to do is to put them to sleep.

    Allowing them to roam free makes a bad situation worse. Forcing them to live under cramped conditions is detrimental to their health and there is a finite limit to the number of pets that can be housed.

    It's a sad situation without a tidy solution.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  131. Laurie

    Greenville, SC – When humans suffer, their animals are always next in line for misery. It may be getting harder for people to look out for themselves, but we created domesticized pets, and it is our responsibility to care for them. The first step is awareness, and appreciate your attention to this matter. The people in charge and ordinary citizens need to educate those around them about what can be done to help abandoned pets. Awareness and education work – remember Hurricane Katrina, when people refused to evacuate and leave their pets behind, causing the owners to need rescuing themselves? Because these people stood up for their pets and others were made aware of the problem, many evacuation plans now include pets...

    April 23, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  132. juniorsgv

    well alot of people are losing houses and having to move with family, or homes/apts. deposits on animals are crazy. i learned a long time ago animals are cute, but only when someone else has got to take care of them. lol

    April 23, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  133. Sara Myers

    There are plenty of possibilites! Think of the many people that aren't exactly hurting during this recession; foster a pet, volunteer and help raise money, adopt a pet yourself. I'm a single woman working as a bank teller. I don't exactly make a ton of money, but I work hard to make sure my 3 pets don't ever need anything. The fact is, they are a part of my family. I would never leave them behind or to anyone else. There are a growing number of aparment complexes and rental homes that realize there are people that are pet owners...put forth a little more effort and find somewhere where your family can continue to grow. Don't leave a member behind.
    Maybe you're not able to give money-wise, but there are plenty of animals out there just wanting love and attention while they're in this state of confusion as to why they're in this cell when they used to be in a home. Take time to take care of them. This isn't just a recession regarding the human race...it effects them just as much.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  134. joanne,austin.tx

    Iam suprised they do not leave their children in their closed homes. people are so irresponsible.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  135. Karyn Schwitters

    Community Shelters, Food Banks, and Animal Welfare Organizations need to make provisions to allow people to be able to keep their animals. This should include providing temporary shelter, and/or food, litter, fostering, etc.
    When people are struggling to survive, or if they have already lost their home, giving up their beloved pets is another heart wrenching blow. Studies have shown that companion animals reduce stress. During these increasingly stressful times, it is even more important that those that can offer assistance so people do not have to make this difficult decision step in.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  136. Sue Wells

    Apartment owners should be encouraged to allow small pets perhaps given a tax break. Shelters for the homeless must be required to allow pets. A lot of homeless risk freezing to death because the shelters won't take their pets, sometimes the only caring thing in their lives. Since we need to create more jobs in this country how about setting up animal care facilities and hiring the unemployed to build, run and maintain them? One of my sons has been unemployed for over a year after owning a small construction company for 14 years. He will do ANYTHING! He loves animals and would love to build animal care facilities in the SLC area. He has taken every job he can find, selling used cars, working at a restaurant, building decks and installing windows. He even joined a union to work as a day laborer. Please tell us what we can do? Thank you so very much. Sue in Layton, Utah

    April 23, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  137. Andrew DoD

    Waldorf, MD

    I currently have 2 cats and 2 ferrets, and while I love them to death there was a possibility I'd have to give them up if I wasn't able to buy a house this year.

    During my search of the area, I found many apartments that only allow 1 pet, and those that do allow my 4 animals charge an insane premium as well as a large non-refundable pet deposit on top of a $1400+/month rent.

    Apartment prices are out of control, and it's tough to feed 4 animals on top of an ever-increasing rent. Why is it that while prices of everything else is going down, rent is climbing year after year? If people couldn't afford mortgage payments, how could they possibly afford a rent payment that's as much, if not more than their mortgage?

    I think rental companies are exploiting the people moving out of foreclosures, and unfortunately that leaves little cash to spend feeding pets and vet visits- that's assuming pets are even allowed.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  138. Laura

    Spay and Neuter pets!!

    April 23, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  139. Jim

    I could never give up my dog; he's like a member of the family...I just don't understand what kind of people could abandon innocent, helpless animals like that, not even taking them to a shelter...it makes me shutter to think how they treat their children.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  140. Laura San Francisco

    Stimulus money needs to be injected into the animal shelters in this country. Money be made available for people to spay and neuter their animals and/or a tax break given to those who can afford to pay the costs incurred for the surgery.

    All puppy mills need to be shut down. A zero population growth initiative in this country for cats and dogs needs to happen now as millions of our pets are being euthanized. Perhaps the GOP can work on this as they are an advocate of no and are doing nothing at this time. This would be a good cause for them.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  141. Wendy Mazur

    It's been proven that interaction with pets can improve the physical as well as mental state of patients, including the elderly. Perhaps the government could subsidize rehabilitation centers and nursing homes to assist with the costs associated with pet care. In light of the current recession, as pets are brought into a shelter they could be examined and observed to determine if they would be appropriate for a rehabilitation/nursing home setting. The shelter could also discuss this option with the owners, which may help to ease the owners feeling of abandoning one of their family members.
    Castle Rock, Colorado

    April 23, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  142. Lorraine E. (San Diego, CA)

    At the end of every "Price Is Right", Bob Barker would always encourage people watching to spay and neuter their animals. As the number of stray animals increase during these hard times it's important that your animals are fixed. Whether you have or have not been forced to give up your pet, it's the ethical thing to do. Many shelters will take abandoned animals and perform these procedures if you can't afford to have it done. So if you really have no other recourse, don't leave your pet to wander the streets. Take your pet to a shelter – preferably a "no kill shelter" – and stop the increase of helpless, stray animals.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  143. Janet Moran

    We have had three cats dumped near our home in approx. 6 months. We have taken in two of them but I paid for the third to have and exam shots ($85) and took it to a WAY overly full shelter today. It's a very sad situation and one I hope I never have to deal with again. Thanks for highlighting this need!

    April 23, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  144. Jack, New Albany, Indiana

    Pets don't ask for much – a little food and a little love. People have pets and give them neither and the pets are the first to go when times are tough. Abandoned pets are a problem that will never be solved as long as there are stupid people in this world who shouldn't own another life form.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  145. Grand Nagus

    My family lives with 3 cats and a parakeet. I could never abandon tham as they are also a part of the family. I lost my job in January and we are barely holding on but or four legged and winged family members will hold on together.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  146. Maureen North

    Along with pet food pantries, spay and neuter clinics will help.

    Also, for those who have lost a pet, perhaps they could reconsider their decision not to get another one right away.

    Folks who are able to care for pets should think about opening their hearts and homes to another one.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  147. Dottie (Lansing, Michigan)

    In my perfect world, there would be no problem, but there is. Those of us who can help need to – by fostering, helping with expenses (food, medical) and allowing people to keep their pets with them(landlords, are you listening?). We also need to stop dumping cats and dogs, assuming they can survive on the streets. Most of them can't! I wish I had an answer because these precious animals depend on us for their most basic needs and we are letting a lot of them down.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  148. Ellen Marchman

    There are so many solutions other than abandoning these helpless animals. Please talk about organizations that are really making a difference such as Noah's Wish, an amazing organization that rescues animals in natural disasters. Also, the Humane Society has a volunteer program that allows concerned citizens to volunteer through education programs and foster care. Thank you for talking about this. I can't imagine how many families are heartbroken to have to leave their pets behind and how heartbroken these pets are when their beloved families don't come home.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  149. cindyintexas

    I've already taken in 4 cats who were abandoned in our neighborhood. I live in a very nice middle class area and people who moved out just left them. I also have 4 cats who just show up each night to eat so I put food out for them too. I haven't seen too many dogs, just cats. It's so sad. My homeless cats have turned into 4 of the most beautiful, sweet babies ever. One is a ginger cat (orange tabby) and he was all covered in fleas and sores when I found him – he was probably 5 weeks old at best. He is ready to be in a commercial now he is so gorgeous! Anybody out there who sees these babies, at the very least, put food and water out for them. They will love you for it and you will have the most loyal friend ever.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  150. Katie B.

    There are so many programs available out there for people to get their pets spayed and neutered at cost. Voucher programs allow individuals who fall within a certain socioeconomic status to get their pets fixed at no cost to them. It's horrible that so many individuals are facing the decision to abandon their pets, especially since pets do not understand what is going on. Sadly, it's a situation that has existed for a long time, and is only magnified by the economic situation. Backyard breeders and puppy mills create so many animals when there are already millions being euthanized every year in shelters. The only way to take an edge off the magnified problem is to go to the solution to the original problem: spay and neuter your pet.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  151. Susan King

    I support many local no-kill shelters in suburban chicago and their cages are always full. It is heartbreaking. We are trying to encourage a letter-writing campaign to landlords in the area who don't allow pets to beg them to reconsider, so that thousands of loved and wanted members of families don't have to be given up or euthanized needlessly. Contact the ASPCA for information on how you can help in your community.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  152. Jennifer

    1st and Foremost. People need to get their pets spayed/neutered but in this economy its pricey because those that make enough money to afford it already have that money tied up in other bills.

    2nd Find Families to Foster the pets until the owner can take them back.

    People domesticated these animals and they are being killed because of our ignorance and stupidity.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  153. Kathi O.

    Please say a prayer for all these silent victims of our economy's failure. These pets cannot speak for themselves, defend themselves against abandonment, dumping and homelessness. They depend on us for sustenance and love. Please, if you can squeeze in one more dog, cat, bird, or horse, please take in a homeless animal. God Bless!

    April 23, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  154. Terri

    Dear Jack,
    Thankyou for bringing this subject up for discussion. As an animal lover and receptionist at a veterinary clinic, this story hits close to home and breaks my heart. People with pets who can`t care for them anymore have the responsibilty to bring them to shelters at the very least. Leaving pets in abandoned homes or dumpsters is cruel and inexcusable under ANY circumstances. There has always been a certain sector of the population who move and dump their pets claiming they are going somewhere that doesn`t accept animals. That`s where most shelter animals come from. During the many years I was renting and had pets, I would never have moved into an apartment that didn`t accept my animals and never had trouble finding pet friendly housing.
    As for the people who are truly destitute and have to choose between feeding themselves or their pets, there needs to be emergency programs to help them keep their pets until they are in a better situation. To some people, their pets are all they have. Low cost spay /neuter programs need to be stepped up as well. I would be happy to know my tax dollars would be going to such a worthy cause at such a desperate time in our country.
    As Gandhi once said “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”.

    Terri from Clearwater, FL

    April 23, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  155. Jonathan Nussbaum

    Attleboro, MA... It would be great if landlords would start allowing more pets, perhaps with a small deposit, or a small addition to the rent. Also, if a friend or relative would consider fostering the pet that could help.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  156. Christine - New York City

    Animals are such a wonderful part of life. They bring love and joy to millions of people daily. I would suggest the people's hard earned tax dollars go to support pets and wildlife instead of being wasted on illegal aliens in this country!

    April 23, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  157. Laurie

    Family pets are a forgotten side effect of the ailing economy. As a volunteer at my local shelter, I've seen firsthand the crying families who have to turn in their pets because they can no longer afford them. People need to remember that pets are not disposable. They are a part of the family, and should be planned for accordingly. At the same time, I believe more resources need to be available to help those struggling to make ends meet. There are, and have been for some time, several opportunities for low cost vet care available to the public. I know shelters offer programs about responsible pet ownership, and how to care for animals. Perhaps shelters should start introducing programs educating the community on how to plan for your pet. Such programs could include information on low cost programs in the area, tips for saving money, and where to take your pet if you can't take him or her with you.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  158. Suzanne

    Why can't we have apartments accept pets much like disaster shelters do now, after the Katrina debacle? Can't there be some sort of "assistance clause" for folks who have lost their homes, to allow them to bring their pets to an apartment? Family is family, whether furry or not ...

    Waukegan, Illinois

    April 23, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  159. Karen Brister

    I used to rescue animals religiously until pet food prices doubled, along with spayings/neuterings, veterinary office visits, treatments, and everything else that goes along with caring for a pet. They can be the most rewarding experience for people who need to feel loved, cared about, and needed. When you own a pet, it's not all about YOU anymore! Someone else will remind you, in the most irritating way (at 5:30am on your day off), that THEIR needs are most important, and right now is best. I saw this coming a long time ago. I live in the south, and after Hurricane Katrina, the cost of living doubled. The electric companies have doubled their already ridiculous prices for the extra labor during the clean-up. Food has doubled, insurance on homes for those fortunate enough to still have one, and lastly, vet and pet care items. Before the hurricane, when I actively rescued animals, people would vagrantly dump boxes of puppies, and kittens on an abandoned road to fend for themselves. Now, they can't afford to feed them, or fix them, so we have an overabundance of animals that are left vunerable to starvation, cruelty, and being stuffed into shelters to be euthanized at great expense to the city's coffers. Animals should be loved, not victimized. However, if we are willing to throw away our animals like trash, who's to say our children won't be the next target. Everyone's disposable these days; the smaller, younger, and weaker are always pushed over the cliff by the bigger, stronger, and cruelest of the two. Karen Brister, Louin, MS

    April 23, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  160. Mary Johnson

    Aww.. Jack... You DO have a heart ... and here I thought you were just another grumpy old man. No, I'm just kidding.
    All the TV stations in a locality need to really push for the adoption of these abandoned pets. Especially since most are house broken and not mental idiots like numerous other critters we could name.
    The humane societies are pleading for financial help. We could donate on a regular basis to our local associations.
    What a pretty little kittie. Breaks my heart. even though I am a dog person.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  161. Remo Williams

    This is where the government should step in.
    I would rather see a major American car company liquidated and have the employees and money shifted to animal assistance programs.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  162. Bob from Centerville, Ohio

    Jack: I am 75 years old and have two dogs that I would feed before myself. There is nothing in this world like the love and devotion of a pet but the medical care of a sick pet costs more than an M.D. Veterinary care is very expensive even in good times. If they would back off a little maybe we wouldn't have to worry about being unable to keep our friends.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  163. Jaylin

    I feel badly for the families not able to take their pets with them into apartments when they have to move. There really should be a concerted effort to lobby more apartments to accept pets. It works for complexes that do allow pets, and it's the least these property management companies can do to help out new-displaced homeowners.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  164. Peggy Votruba

    This is a very sad but true story. I look that pet postings on Craigslist in my area (Austin) every single day. There is a crisis out there and what it really is, is people not taking the time nor energy to see if there is anything they can do in their current situation (i.e. cut backs, budgeting, etc) to curb spending for one. They need to do more research if having to move, to find a suitable home for the entire family which includes their pet. There is assistance and there are many ways to be able to keep your pet and afford it at the same time. This just can't go on! Life is life – regardless if it is human or animal! Hutto, Texas

    April 23, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  165. Sherry

    I hope people who have homes will consider getting a pet from these shelters. We just did and he is a wonderful big fellow who follows me and my children everywhere. He is also a great hiking companion for my husband. He is greatful to have a home and we certainly know when someone gets to our door... before they get there.

    Darien, Ct

    April 23, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  166. Kelly

    I recently adopted a dog off of a website. The owner was unemployed and needed to find homes for her pets. I was able to take one and a co-worker adopted another. Pet care is expensive, I've owned the dog for about a month and I've already spent $500 with Vet examines, food, crate, and grooming.. etc. I provide the owner with updates and pictures of the dog. I know this was a very difficult decision for her and her family.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  167. Diana Mellars

    One would hope that a pet owner considers their pet a member of their family but apparently many of these people do not. Instead of abanding them it would be nice to see people try and find new homes for them. The shelter should be the last resort. If you can care for an animal or take on another animal I highly recommend going to the shelter and adopting. We have taken in our second cat who was abandoned outside the shelter and while he can be a handful I'm greatful to have him every day. I'm also planning on volunteering some of my own time to the shelter.

    Parsippany, NJ

    April 23, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  168. Linda Lubbers

    Just as people foster children, we can also foster pets. If you can't commit to an adoption, can you find it in your heart and make room for another friend until they can find a home? Contact your local shelters for more info. Most do have foster programs for their animals.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  169. Debbie

    There are a lot of apartments that take dogs and cats. You have to do research, but they are out there. We are losing our home and we are able to take the dog and cats. I would never abandon them and would live in my car or in a box before I got rid of them. They are family and look up to us for love, caring, affection and protection.

    All animals are not disposable and do have feelings like their human counterparts. Dumping a pet may sound easy to some people, but when they are abandoned they are lost and alone and could also be abused by strangers and ruthless kids. It happens all the time. PLEASE take the time to look for a place to live that accepts your animals.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  170. quieteye

    A response as helping the situation (whats needed) as I had done yesterday is make a donation (options enabled) to dearborn-animals.com which helps Elaine and staff at this Detroit area shelter tend to the overwhelming issues and needs they face. Thank-you

    April 23, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  171. Ann

    I had no idea about this problem- It would be great to have this advertized more. I would certainly take an abonded pet.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  172. Nancy

    More needs to be done to make members of the community aware of the problem. I can't help but think that most of us would help our neighbors and friends find ways to keep their pets if we knew they were struggling with taking care of them. So many of us know the joy and comfort a pet can bring to our lives...it's sad to think that people are being forced to give their beloved pets up just when they need them the most!

    April 23, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  173. Adam Price

    If an individual wants to keep their animal(s) there needs to be policy in place to make it happen. Currently many policies are being changed. Therefore, why not have a recovery for are non-human companions. Animal shelters attempting to give food to a pet owner is nowhere close to the right answer. Yes, it helps shelters keep animals with their respective owner(s), but then the shelter is out the food and money! How about animal food makers receive tax breaks for donating "X" amount of food to shelters? Then a person that meets a given criteria (finical hardship so forth) is able to keep their animal. Basically, welfare for animals, but not a federally ran system. In short producers of animal food receive a simple tax credit similar to an individual donating a car to an organization. Now what about the problem of medical care for animals? Similar to the food system people meeting criteria should be able to have inexpensive if not free medical care. This could happen if veterinarian programs receiving federal aid were asked to have programs in place for people that could other wise not afford medical care. This would benefit not only the vet students being able to receive first hand experience, but also people that have been wanting to adopt, but because medical treatment is so expensive they could not. Therefore, in the long run saving thousands of animals from being homeless and possible death.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  174. Jacob

    It's a hard question to answer as to waht to do with the animals, but what I'm appaulled at is how many people that cry about animals being "family members" that are yet willing to abondon them when it's not economically feasible to keep them. Now that's just selfish!

    April 23, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  175. Diane Partsch

    Provide some type of store where pet owners can buy lowered prices on pet food. Leave off the sales tax on pet food–it all adds up on the price. Try to assist pet owners with some of these suggestions so that they don't just panic and drop off their pets.

    The price of dog food keeps going up, up and up. This scares pet owners who need to worry about their families. If they had some place they could buy discounted food, they might change their mind and keep their pets.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  176. Fern

    As The Billionnaires and Multi Millionnaires to donate directly to animal shelters. Also, I would love to have another pet, but I cannot afford the care, i.e. Vet, Medicine, Check Ups, Food, Dog Walker. If for example an eldery person can no longer care for their pets but have the finances, why not set up an account for the pet administered by the Shelter Agencies (to ensure the money is being used properly) and give the pets to adoptive parents who would love to care for the pet and now the money is there for the Pet’s care.

    What does this mean: "Your comment is awaiting moderation" ?

    April 23, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  177. chris

    Since pets are spoken of time and again as "members of people's families", they should be taken care of accordingly. I believe a federal government program should be instituted, with strict guidelines, to take care of this problem, whether it be on a temporary or permanent basis. If our pets are so valuable to us and regaled (like the recent adoption by the President), why shouldn't they be treated with that level of importance? Spay or Neuter your pets!

    Naples, FL

    April 23, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  178. Chris

    C'mon, just how expensive are these pets that one would have to abandon their pets becuase they are too costly? I own 2 cats and, while I too am also unemployed, I can always find some cash to feed/care for them. They're not that expensive.

    Secondly, why would one decide to move into a place that doesn't allow pets? Pet owners should feel that their pets are family, no? So, why even bother looking for a place to live that doesnt allow pets. There are always other places to find housing, especially now with increased condo/apartment vacancies.

    Bottom line: These people probably shouldn't have had pets in the first place. They were just casual owners/caretakers.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  179. Kathleen

    I volunteer at a no-kill cat only shelter and sanctuary in Washington State we view cats as family members and not a disposable commodity. Because of the economy, every shelter (for both cats and dogs) has seen an increase in surrenders and a decrease in adoptions. As shelters fill up the euthanizing at kill shelters also increases and not just older cats but kittens as well. No-Kill shelters such as Purrfect Pals (Arlington, WA) and MEOW (Kirkland, WA) are become overwhelmed and with the economy they are hard pressed for donations as the public's disposable income diminishes. The answer to some of the problem is spay and neuter your pets...there are very low cost options ($25 for female and $15 for a male cat) which are available in almost every state. Finding a 'pet friendly' place to live can sometimes be very difficult. I wish I had an answer, the only thing that keeps me sane is helping one cat or kitten at a time.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  180. alison

    I think if people actually cared about their pets – they wouldn't abandon them. They would try to find a family member or friend who could take them temporarily or permanently and care for them. I would NEVER part with my baby... I'd find a way to keep him. I think it has a lot to do with people seeing animals as material possessions and not as living things.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  181. sheila

    What can I do to help?

    April 23, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  182. Joaquin Palting

    If you don't consider your pet a member of the family you need to reassess your reason for having one. Would you leave your child behind if your couldn't afford to feed him/her any more?

    April 23, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  183. Judy

    Hi Jack,
    When we pick pets for ourselfs WE chose them they don't chose us we need to take care of them. If you need help ask don't just leave them how would we like it. There is someone or somewhere to go with the pets. Just ask !!!!!!!
    Judy
    Ceres, CA

    April 23, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  184. Pam Ruzzo

    The pet abandonment problem must be addressed by education: 1) education of the public as to the consequences of abandonment (i.e. abandoned pets are likely to: starve, die in the street or be euthanized.); and 2) education of the public re: pet adoption as a viable option to purchase (you save animals' lives, and you save money, which you can apply to taking proper care of the pet.) Pets are family to many, but to many others, they are to be left behind when things get difficult. Perhaps most importantly, people need education with regard to viable options to abandonment (no kill shelters, rescue organizations, low-cost vet care and pet food, etc.) Armed with that knowledge, many, I believe, would make the choice of finding a new home for their pet rather than leaving the animals behind.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  185. Isabelle from Washington State

    This is just more fallout that resulted from the Bush/Cheney Presidency. We just have to make sure that the Pharmacutical companies don't take the animals to conduct tests on them. I personally would adopt another pet but I can't afford the adoption fees.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  186. Mike from Indiana

    Since our income has fallen, we've cut back on restaurants and are buying less meat and prepared foods, but we're still buying our two dogs and two cats superpremium pet food. When you adopt a pet, you're responsible for it until one of you dies.
    There are plenty fo irresponsible people out there.

    The pet haters can eat the daily special at their local Korean restaurant.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  187. john in Ottawa, Ks

    Something I have never understood is why landlords and motels
    allow children, some, of which, can be destructive, noisy, messy
    and outright hellions, but don't allow pets. For many folks,
    these animals are not pets, but family. Especially, for many
    of the elderly. And most dogs, in this spiraling unsafe world,
    also provide protection. And people deserting their "pet" are
    actually deserting a family member.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  188. SDD in AZ

    This is such a sad story. I recently received an e-mail from my Neighborhood Association. They forwarded a picture of two dogs and a note from the owner. She could no longer afford her mortgage and had to give up her pets. I just couldn't even imagine doing this and know that I would not be able to give up my own two dogs.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  189. ANGELA FONTANA

    It breaks my heart to know that so many innocents pets are abandoned to fend for themselves. I put the blame on the landlords who refuse to rent to people with pets. They are the main cause for the dumping of animals.

    Isn't there someway that you can reach the landlords in this and appeal to their consciences to rent to these poor unfortunate people?

    You might have some influence on them. Otherwise, people will have to make donations to their local animal shelters to help deflect the increased costs of feeding and housing these animals who have lost their homes through this mess.

    Angela Fontana

    April 23, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  190. Kodie

    PET OWNERS!! You have undertaken the care of a life, and you should take care of it to the best of your ability. These are not plants that can just be dropped off at the nearest park. These are animals with senses and heartbeats. They are under your care, so take care of them.. no matter how tough things get. Would you abandon your children (well.. some do, but that's another matter)?

    People who abandon their pets, for the most part, are pathetic.

    Post all the hate comments you want, but that's my opinion

    April 23, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  191. Dog Ma

    There are pet food pantries located throughtout the country. Call local humane societies for help if food is needed. If move due to foreclosure, please contact rescue and shelters for assistance. Many are full but might be able to offer alterantives. Do not leave pets alone in abandoned apartment.....there is help but you need to put some effort in to finding it. All the more reason to spay and neuter your pets. Don't breed or buy while shelter animals die.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  192. Deborah Stewart

    Hello: This is a very sad situation, but I could never abandon my pets if I lost my job. A pet is not something to be discarded. I have three cats and love them dearly. I know there are alot of people like me and wish there were more.

    Regards,
    Deborah Stewart
    Sterling, Virginia

    April 23, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  193. Richard Hamilton

    One possible solution is to ask police, rescue and other government agencies that use canines to consider adopting young shelter dogs for their training programs, especially if they are currently using breeding programs.

    Edgartown, MA

    April 23, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  194. J

    People who abandon pets have not looked at all the options. There are services out there to help folks find apartment pet friendly housing and there are lower cost animal foods available or even free from some human services organizations. Food banks have pet food too.
    Don't let pride be the reason your pet was put to sleep!
    Once you adopt a pet, they're part of the family. Of course if you really didn't want the pet and are using this as an excuse to get rid of them, maybe they are better off at the shelter.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  195. Spencer

    As a Democrat I have a great idea! Lets ask what George W. Bush thinks. He is always the best with coming up with great decisions.

    Spencer Booth
    Weston, Florida

    April 23, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  196. Cody

    More then ever, it is so important to let the public know that there are literally hundreds of thousands of pets that need homes. If any home is looking to add a pet to its household then there are thousands of pets available for adoption. There is no need for anyone to pay breeders or pet stores for animals.... You don't have to go to a breeder to get a puppy or kitten. You don't have to go to a breeder for a specific breed. Visit your local shelters or breed specific rescue groups!

    My local animal shelter euthanizes 10,000 animals a year. That's 1 animal shelter, in 1 city, in 1 state. It's an epidemic.

    Spay and Neuter all pets! You can do this for a minimal cost through many different organizations.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  197. Ana Zorrilla, CEO Louisiana SPCA

    The recession is bringing attention to a growing problem in every community with hundreds of animals being turned in to shelters each month. Its more important than ever that residents reach out to their local shelters to support the efforts to rehome these wonderful animals either through adoptions or donations. Its equally important that people spay/neuter their pets to reduce the numbers of litters being turned in daily.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  198. J

    There's a special place in hell for people who abandon pets to the wilderness...

    April 23, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  199. jaedehunter

    More landlords should allow pets.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  200. craig

    We can encourage more people to foster few pets in their backyards. Even though they are not responsible for total care, if they can take care of food and water needs of pet, it wud be much better. It may not cost more than 10-15 dollars a month.

    Lot of people dont want to keep animals in home, but they are kind enough to help them and keep them in backyards.
    govt and animal shelters provide free medical help for backyard pets to such foster parents

    April 23, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  201. Karrin

    I will go without to make sure my animals have what they need, because as you said – they can't fend for themselves [well Adso the thrill killer kitty could, but that's another story]. Shelters are good, but a rescue organization is better IMHO. I got my IGGY Reno from IGCA here in Texas and am looking for another. Yes we have had ones come in that their owners couldn't keep, true. But those of us who can, well we foster. And one day, when their owners get back on their feet, their little one is still around.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  202. Fern

    Moderately revised:
    Ask Rich People to donate directly to animal shelters. Also, I would love to have another pet, but I cannot afford the care, i.e. Vet, Medicine, Check Ups, Food, Dog Walker. If for example an eldery person can no longer care for their pets but have the finances, why not set up an account for the pet administered by the Shelter Agencies (to ensure the money is being used properly) and give the pets to adoptive parents who would love to care for the pet and now the money is there for the Pet’s care.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  203. Manny From OKC

    GOD HELP US. Amen

    Manny Whitlock

    April 23, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  204. RW

    Jack,

    I actually started reading about this a few months ago. Pet owners who lose homes face a terrible conundrum that I can't even imagine.

    Five years ago, I adopted the most wonderful rescue dog. In reading about the recent crisis with abandoned pets, I seriously contemplated taking in another, however, live in a tiny studio apartment – not only do I question whether the complex would allow me another pet, but I don't think introducing another pet into my small space would be fair. However, I did make the decision instead to make monthly donations to the ASPCA and two separate humane societies.

    In light of this, I think it's more important than ever that people seriously consider rescue organizations when looking for pets. I was greatly disappointed when the Obamas – after much hype and talk about doing so – didn't. Furthermore, people must get their pets spayed and neutered, and we need stricter regulations on animal breeding to prevent puppy mills and general overpopulation.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  205. Leslie Woods

    With regards to the pets being abandoned in parking lots, dumpsters and left in homes, these people could'nt have really cared for their pets much in the first place. If you love them, you don't abandon them so recklessly in places like that, you do the responsible thing by taking them to a shelter. Many of these people should never have had a pet to start with. Unfortunately, they can't all be saved and many will be euthanized. Many people don't think of it being a long term family member, this animal will be with you possibly 15-20 years. They only think short term, "what a cute puppy or kitten that is, lets get it". More education for the public, assistance to shelters and pounds taking care of these pets is needed. Always hope for the best, plan for their futures "just in case" which is what I have done.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  206. chris gode

    The volunteers in Oregon started a dog food bank. We knew animals were being abandoned. We also knew people could no longer feed their pets. It is all volunteers who run the dog food bank the 3rd Saturday of every month. We feed up to 4 dogs per household, 24 lbs per dog. They can come every month for food. We have been doing this for 3 months.Last month we gave away 3800 pounds of dog food. People brought in lots of donations.One young lady had a birthday party instead of presents she wanted everyone to bring dog food.Her whole birthday party brought in the dog food.We were interviewed 3 months ago by one of our local T.V. stations, so we got the word out quickly.This has been a blessing not only for the animals who need the food, but also everyone involved with the project.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  207. Laurie Vekic

    Jack,

    In the last year and a half, I have donated in excess of ten thousand dollars to an animal rescue group in Arkansas. As a Canadian and an animal lover, I knew the economic crisis in the US was impacting the number of abandoned pets so I thought it necessary to help. Understand that I get no tax write off for doing so but am encouraged by your President's decision in January to adopt a rescue or shelter pet.

    Rather than honoring his word, the President adopts a Portugese Water Dog and saves him from a life of misery with the Kennedys. Your good President wasted one of the greatest opportunities to shed light on animal adoptions and to promote them. Instead he promotes a breed that costs in excess of two thousand dollars per puppy while great animals are being euthanized in the millions in your country every year. I just have to shake my head....pathetic

    Laurie, Vancouver, Canada

    April 23, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  208. Jennifer Hansen

    Jack,
    These angels are the forgotten victims of the economic crisis – and the most devastatingly affected. Pet owners should be aware of the community resources available to their animals before and during ownership so that pets are not left on their own; a state in which they can not survive. Also, more hotels, apartment communities and homeless shelters should allow housepets. This would not only help animals keep 'forever homes' and allow familes to keep their most cherished possession, but it would exponentially increase business. A reminder: when making food donations, keep in mind pet food is always needed, too.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  209. Jennifer B

    This is a hard and heart breaking question to answer isn't it. This is not a problem for just today during the recession, this goes on every day all over the world.

    Laws need to be harsher on people who are irresponsible pet owners.

    This is radical and just another thing to police, but for starters there needs to be stringent laws and limits for each state. Only so many breeders (per breed) should have a permit to breed. You would be required to have a license. I know this won't help matters immediately but in the long run I believe this will decrease the over all population until we can get a handle on this. Also, unless you are a registered breeder you must be required to spray and neuter your animals.

    Stiffer fines and prosecution!

    Perhaps we could reach out to schools and colleges and try to get them to adopt an animal as a school mascot.???

    April 23, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  210. Andrea

    This is so sad, especially considering that so many shelters are already over capacity because people fail to spay or neuter their pets. Lawmakers in California are considering a bill that would allow a tax deduction for a portion of the expense of adopting a pet. I think this should be done on the federal level to encourage people to adopt pets from a shelter rather than buy them from a breeder.

    Washington, DC

    April 23, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  211. Glenn - Tampa FL

    We can work with adoption agencies to remind people that adopting pets is a life-long comittment and that you need to prepare for whatever happens down the road in order to keep that comittment. Life-long means that the pet is your responsiblity, and yours to keep and care for until you expire, or the pets does. Should you "go" first, it's hoped that you would have planned for the pet's care after your departure. Whatever comes first! In this throwaway society some simple education that an animal cannot be discarded -like everything else – would also be helpful.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  212. dennis from Maryland

    Jack,
    Glad you put this article on your site.
    We have 3 rescue dogs(the last joined our family 2 weeks ago) along w/
    2 daughters and all the stress etc that everybody else has.
    This is a clarion call to those who have the means and the hearts to adopt a shelter animal.
    We speak to animal caregivers often and they all say the same thing. People are giving up their pets because they can't afford to keep them and nobody is adopting for the same reason.
    Those who can would be doing a really great thing.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  213. Candyce C.

    It is beyond me how anyone would abandon a member of their family during these tough times. Would you leave your children behind to fend for themselves? Don't misunderstand....I am not standing in judgement of you but for goodness sake, if you can no longer care for your furry family members, drop them off at your local humane society, SPCA, or shelter. Just know that they will likely not remain there long – and I'm not talking about adoption.

    For those who don't yet have a companion animal, yearn for the unconditional love and company and are concerned about the cost of taking care of one, kindly refrain.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  214. Dore - Central Coast, CA

    I, for one, believe that at least one of two of those abandoned pets should have been adopted by the first family. Instead, we now have 100's if not more folks running out to get Portuguese Water Dogs. It's highly doubtful that there are many of those in shelters...well, at least not yet...

    April 23, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  215. Joanna

    I really hate this; it's absolutely heartbreaking. Its been an increasingly worse problem in the last year to two years with the housing/credit markets tanking and taking our economy with it. I don't understand how anyone could just dump/abandon their pets!!! Have the mercy to at least try the Humane Society, local Animal Rescues, and as a last resort, the local pound (Animal Control). The pet may still have to be "put down" but at least it's quick; not the slow, painful, fear filled torture of starving to death alone, abondoned in a locked house, backyard, or on the streets. I have been feeding a collection of what I call Orphan Kittes for months now, but it still breaks my heart; I wish I could adopt all of them (dogs too! all of the "throw aways"...I'll keep dreaming of winning the lotto; then I'd be able to afford to take in the orphans without looking like a hoarder).

    April 23, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  216. David

    Horrible people. You reap what you sow.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  217. Carl C

    In March 2009, I was taking a leisurely drive in the country. I spotted a puppy on the side of the road. I stopped to pick him up where he ran into an abandoned dilapidated barn. The nearest homes were about 100 yards from the barn. I coaxed him out and eventually he trusted me and allowed me to pick him up. He was half-frozen and had numerous wounds where thorns had penetrated his skin – one, even, in one of his front paws. I plucked them out to his relief. I knocked on a few of the doors on the nearby homes and nobody claimed him. One lady quipped that I had won the "Hillbilly lottery." She explained that people drop their dogs off all the time around that location. I still have him but am not sure, even, if I will be able to keep him as I lose my job tomorrow. I already have a Chocolate Lab and the two play well together. It was tough enough to locate an apartment that would take one dog; let alone two! My location is Bartlesville, OK.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  218. Mary

    My pets are family members, I'd be living in a box and homeless before giving up my pets and only then would I give them up for a better home. I don't understand how people can adopt a pet and then act as though they are an expendible item.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  219. Debbie

    Hi Jack,
    No matter what it took I would never, ever abandon my pets. I have had cats my entire life and have known tough times. I always worked whether I liked the job or not. I have lived all over the country (I was a radio announcer for many years) working from station to station and before I would move into a town I would place an ad in the paper stating that I was looking for an apartment that allowed cats. Having said that, I also found over the years that many landlords who don't allow pets, may reconsider if you ask them directly. As far as I am concerned if a person can't or won't make a lifetime commitment to an animal, then don't get a pet to begin with. Finally, donate as you can to your local shelter. They can use cash, food, towels, whatever. It doesn't have to be a lot. Donate what you can. Thanks for addressing this issue.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  220. casey

    i have 4 horses and two dogs an am losing my home make the banks do what obama said so we people can keep our homes why not take all the things from people who put us here let them be homeless

    April 23, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  221. Terry in Fayetteville, NC

    The creation of a "white collar" prison that features Vietnamese cuisine should solve that and several other recession related problems.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  222. Christina

    This situation should be a wake up call for people to spay and neuter their pets. We need to spread awareness that pet store puppies take away homes from dogs and cats in animal shelters, who will more than likely be euthanized without a loving home. People should take into account all the expenses that go along with owning a pet before they get one. We need to act as pet guardians rather than owners.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  223. Valerie Young

    Owners of apartments should change their rules and let ppl have pets in these times. They r part of a persons family like children and should be treated as such, It is horrible that people would leave their pets behind! Would u leave your child behind? Shame on them!!!

    April 23, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  224. Josh Myers Fairfax, Virginia

    My family is helping out with the new abundance of pets in shelters by offering to provide a foster home untill the animal can find a loving family.

    We also help rescue dogs from gas chambers in North Carolina by helping out with transports into Virginia and Maryland to shelters.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  225. Luke B

    You said the main solutions Jack. Try finding homes that allow pets. Large numbers of foreclosures aren't likely to stop tomorrow, so the problem will sadly continue. The pets of the people in these homes are, sadly, another casualty in the economic recession.

    From Savannah, Missouri

    April 23, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  226. MaryAnn-San Diego, CA

    The pet should be part of your family. If you do not feel that way, then don't own a pet. People who love their animals 100% will not abandon them. Shame on those of you who have abandoned those precious animals!

    April 23, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  227. Will- Charlotte, NC

    I was forced to leave my beloved dogs, Sheena and Ebony, behind when I lost my home in 1999 and could not take them to my apartment. It still breaks my heart even today Jack. It took me years after I got on my feet to take another pet. Everything is good for me now. I built a new home in 2003 and the thought of ever leaving my dog, Sandy, behind is unthinkable. I would never do that again! You live with so much guilt afterwards!

    April 23, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  228. Judge

    Why cant the RNC and DNC donate some of the millions of dollars they raise to help shelters insted of helping themselfs

    April 23, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  229. diane

    This is the problem I am having. "If" you can find an apartment that will accept a pet, they won't take anything over 25lbs.
    Therefore, the longer it takes me to find an apartment...chances are, my poor dog will be about the right weight.

    California

    April 23, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  230. Craig Bruce from Boise, Idaho

    Jack,

    We have four dogs and two cats and are close to losing our home. In the event we do lose our home, someone will have a big tent in their backyard with Craig, Carol and their band of dogs and cats. I will not let them go into an uncertain situation. Now is the time all of us can step up and help those who are helpless and depend on us. Take in someone's dog or cat – this thing will get better and as a result we will all be better for it.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  231. frnky111td

    Jack,
    Why don't we do what is being done to the rest of us. The government should create a pet Czar and have the government pay for every cat and dog to be spayed. Let's let the government handle it. They are handling everything else for us know.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  232. Charlotte

    Barring the shelter, if someone is in danger of foreclosure, maybe they can canvass their neighborhood to find someone who can foster the pet in the event that the foreclosure happens. Or maybe a neighborhood co-op organization can be set up with a list of people who can take a cat or a dog (or a horse or gerbils or an iguana) on a temporary basis, in an emergency. This does not absolve the owner of the responsibility to continue looking for a house/apt where they can eventually bring the animal, or looking for someone to take the animal permanently, but in a crisis when someone has to suddenly leave, there could be someone in the neighborhood who has already agreed to foster for awhile.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  233. Lyn Lindstrom

    Rocklin, CA

    Stimulus Package to the Animal Shelters? Why not! Maybe they can override the "pork" pork barrel spending...or better yet....take the money from Murtha's runway?

    April 23, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  234. Paul Maidan

    Charge the owners with anumal abuse....that's what can be done. These people took on the responsibility of pet ownership and they should be required to live up to that. A cat can suvive on water and scraps off your plate if need be. It's better than the wild. It's not our pets that got us into this economic mess, but this is a good example of the trickle-down effect. Innocent animals being threatened by not-so-innocent people.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  235. C Bennett

    I am in central Texas, and it seems to be happening to a lesser degree here than in other parts of the country. It's sad when people have to choose between a roof over their heads and their pets. Some meals on wheels programs are actually delivering donated pet food to their clients who have pets. I would personally do without as well before giving mine up. People need to consider their pets as family members and give them the same consideration as they would their children. They are a lifetime commitment, not a convenience. Home is not a home without ALL its family members. I blame the irresponsible homeowners who got in over their greedy heads with mortgages they couldn't afford in the first place and the greedy lenders who made the loans to those who should never have qualified, and it's the animals who suffer!

    April 23, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  236. Sandra Sparks

    Foster Homes where owners can have visitation would work. When the owners circumstances improve, they can resume care of their pets.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  237. Pat B.

    Companion animals are a life long commitment. We have to plan for them as we do everything else. If we have money for airports that are not in use maybe some of those funds should be redirected to help people and pets stay together.

    Pets have many beneficial side effects. They can keep someone going when they have lost hope, I know! To lose then too is devistating.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  238. Ella

    Poor animals! The government should do more to help them. Why do people abandon pets in there homes? They should put them in shelters.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  239. Lisa

    Jack, I'm a veterinarian, and I think the first thing that should be done is to outlaw breeding, or at least make it very difficult, such as charging a huge fee and special licensing for breeders to practice where the funds would go to shelters, and jail time for 'backyard breeders'. It's so sad to see all these purchased puppies come into my practice when I know so many animals that would make wonderful pets are being euthanized. I'm also a parent, and can't understand how people can teach their kids that other living beings are just disposable. I've only ever owned rescue animals, and by far, they make the best pets.

    -Lisa, Monmouth Junction, NJ

    April 23, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  240. Elizabeth

    I recently agreed to take a small dog from someone who couldn't afford to keep it any longer. I had never seen the dog before but my heart was broken at the condition of neglect it was in. It was a small walking skeleton. I took it to my vet and with love, patience and a little tenderness she is the sweetest dog in the world and is gaining her weight back. I feel for the people who love their animals but can't keep them, but for those who choose to keep their pets and then neglect them shame on you.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  241. Whitley

    Even if you can't keep your pet..why leave it behind? Not only is that neglect but it's heartbreaking for the animal who loves you. Your pets are your responsibility and if you're not prepared to try a little harder to find a situation that is copasetic for your furry friend, then you shouldn't have made the commitment to make him/her part of the family in the first place. That's the "responsibility" part that they stress to you when you adopt an animal!

    April 23, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  242. Carlos Avila

    Whatever you do with those pets, please don't send them either to Cuba or China. They may very well become a meal.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  243. Maggie D.

    When you adopt a pet, you have taken responsibility for a life. You might argue that it doesn't have as much 'value' as a human life, but it IS life, and you are responsible for it.

    Think ahead before adopting. Research to be sure you're not adding to the growing problems of supporting puppy mills. Use sites such as Petfinder, and when you do adopt – budget carefully. If something happens, and as with all things in life, something may, do your best to find a safe, comfortable outcome for your pet. Clinics and support groups are out there, but the first priority for pet owners is to educate themselves.

    Regards,
    Maggie, Pittsburgh PA

    April 23, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  244. Luna M

    Spay and Neuter–this is the best possible thing you can do for your pet and all pets across the U.S. Do not add to the unwanted pet population. it's a simple procedure that does not harm your pet, you'll only have to do it once, it will increase the life expectancy of your pet by preventing roaming, and in the process you will save literally hundreds of lives. Millions of kittens and puppies are put to death each year because no one can care for them, and many of those are the result of unaltered housepets.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  245. Ken in NC

    Give all these abandoned pets to the Republicans that don't want to do anything about the economy other than letting it "SELF CORRECT".

    April 23, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  246. Aaron D.

    I think that the bush administration should make a way to save animals to get some brownie points for losing so many of our homes. Maybe send them to Bush's ranch to keep out all the people that dislike him.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  247. Annie Kennedy

    Tell these damn landlords that it's time to give up the "no pet" clause in their leases. Pet hair can be cleaned up and there are many chemical enzyme solutions that can neutralize "odors" of pet messes. Most animals are clean and well-cared for. This is a huge problem in NYC, where I live, and no-kill shelters are packed to capacity. If these pets were human children would abandonment seem necessary? Of course not. But the attitude is, "oh, it's just a dog/cat." DISGRACEFUL. List the names and addresses of these landlords and management companies that don't allow pets and you'd see some real action. There are millions of animal lovers in the USA. I'm sure we could start a real MOVEMENT.

    –brooklyn, NY

    April 23, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  248. Doctor M

    This is entirely understandable when you have to choose between feeding your kids or your pets.
    I hope we don't get to the point where Japan was in WW II when it had to stop feeding its animals in the zoos because there weren't any funds to buy feed. A sad thing to watch zoo animals wither and die.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  249. Christina

    This situation should be a wake up call for people to spay and neuter their pets. We need to spread awareness that pet store puppies take away homes from dogs and cats in animal shelters, who will more than likely be euthanized without a loving home. People should take into account all the expenses that go along with owning a pet before they get one. We need to act as pet guardians rather than owners.

    Christina, New York

    April 23, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  250. Christine

    Those of us who already have one pet should adopt another. It is not that much more work or expense. When our 19 year old cat died we got a 3 month old kitten to keep our 7 year old cat company and to reduce the number of homeless cats.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  251. Nancy Camp

    Jack

    Thank you for bringing attention to pets in need. Please take this opportunity to educate people about how to help and where to find seniors who need help supporting pets. Perhaps some kind of an adopt a friend program could be established. I could afford to help someone keep a pet, even though I have several of my own with no room at the inn.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  252. ST

    Why don't more apartment buildings start allowing pets? For those greedy out there, they could charge people a little more for having pets, but allow pets for crying out loud.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  253. Chris

    People need to be educated! One should know the lifespan of the animal before he adopts. And yes, they do cost money so if one is living paycheck to paycheck, a pet may not be the best idea.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  254. Matthew Schmitz Oxnard, CA

    How bout a stimulus package for dogs. $200 every pet you have.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  255. William

    This is a terrible reflection of our self indulgence and disregard for life – greed when times are good and flippant abandonment during times of hardship. How can we so readily give up on our loved pets? We wouldn't do that to a child so where is the rationale and logic? Animals cannot fend for themselves far less survive in a callous world, so think before you act so casually.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  256. Brian

    Cities with the highest abandoned animal percentage should be force-fed Bob Barker's well known closing statement. Prevention would be the ideal option, but for the animals that have already been left homeless...Perhaps they could serve as companions for elderly who spend their days in retirement homes.

    This just came to me...It would be nice if there was an organization who took a small number of these abandoned animals (the most trained and aesthetically pleasing) and put on an auction. All proceeds would fund the rescue and rehabilitation for abandoned animals. With some abitious PR work, hopefully the event would be filmed and put on the air. Can you see it now...CNN live coverage of Abandoned Animal Auction...Madonna lifting her paddle, bidding on a once abandoned Tabby...I can.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  257. Christy Farmer

    As both an animal lover AND a people lover this is a problem that makes me ashamed to be part of this society. Although it does not surprise me that since we throw everything else away so quickly, that we do the same to the beloved family pet. I think the answer to this problem is educating people on ways to keep the family pet around. Don't apply to for housing that does not accept pets, buy cheaper dog food or look for pet food donations. These are simple and realistic solutions. But I doubt realistic solutions will ever hold much with the uncaring, selfish, and quite frankly, moronic people who dump their pets.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  258. Diana Bell

    Jack,
    For anyone who works at animal shelters or with animal welfare groups, this isn't news. What would be news is if there were more funding to support spay/neuter programs.

    I work with a spay/neuter program; we started a pet food bank last year that get's no funding from government, only from donations and a small grant from the Humane Society of the US, who recognized this problem more than a year ago.
    Diana
    Deming, NM

    April 23, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  259. Nancy Schobert-Entrup

    For what pets bring to peoples lives if we are going to bale out alot of "heartless underhanded people",which we all know we are why can't we give a suppliment to animal shelters or to people to be able to take care of their pets and feed them.

    I have had 2 dogs since 1991 , and both of them have more heart and sole than 99% of the people I have ever met. Isn't there something to be said for taking care of your best friend. Whether he be two legged or four legged.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  260. John in Seattle

    Nothing can be done. People get their pets for purely selfish reasons, and they abandon them for the same reasons.

    It is no wonder that people in poor nations around the world hate us. They are starving, and we are whining about how KFC treats their chickens. Jack, this story isn't news worthy. Americans are far too self absorbed, and we desperately need a priority enema.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  261. Janet

    Jack,
    It's a sad state of affairs, when people think of their animals as disposable property. If more landlords would let renters bring their pets, we would not have this problem. Most people's pets are better behaved then their children anyway, so if you allow the kids, why not allow animals. If you have to leave your pet, please, please, please bring them to a local shelter. Do not give them to anyone you don't know or just leave them to fend for themselves, because they can't.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  262. Jay In Oregon

    Jack –

    Like it or not the sad truth in this country is there are far too many animals and not nearly enough homes for them. Those who say spaying or neutering an animal is cruel should be forced to take these homeless pets in. Let them pay out of their pockets for the care and feeding of these throwaways created by their misguided beliefs. Sorry to say it but many of these animals are headed for just one place – the euthanasia chamber.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  263. nancy margenson

    I dont know what can be done to prevent this Jack- if people lose their jobs, homes, etc, they just may not be financially able to care for an animal , BUT getting more word out to the public about these poor animals via news programs like yours and others that relate this info so that the publics' general consciousness gets raised and those willing to adopt get prompted to, may help ease the problem.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  264. Robert - Palm Springs

    Have you ever tried to give an animal to a shelter? I once had to give my roommates cat to a shelter because he didnt want it anymore, I made calls all over and no one would take it without a fee. So I had to lie and say I found it living in my garage before someone would take it with out a fee. If people are losing their homes, they may not be able to pay the fee.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  265. Claire

    Jack, my family volunteers with a local rescue group. We have three rescue dogs...not designer dogs, but dogs that fallen on hard times.

    If families can't afford to keep the family pet(s), I urge them to contact a local rescue group. Many of them have programs to help these people keep their companion animals.

    If families have a little extra money kicking around, I urge them to donate to local rescue groups to help them care for these animals at risk. And, if you have room in your home, consider fostering a displaced pet or even adopting one, for every animal placed means another can be saved.

    These animals deserve love and security. And, remember the older and more sickly animals need love and security too.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  266. Lou, Vancouver

    I think people who can't afford their pets should leave them in George Bush's new neighborhood in Texas. Its Bush-era policy that caused the current recession and the neighborhood that George W now lives in is rich enough to feed tons and tons of unwanted pets.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  267. Mort

    I think that first and foremost people who are falling on hard times should find friends or relatives who are in a position to look after their pet temporarily. I have always had a dog, and as far as I'm concerned, it's like a child and would never give it up. I would rather live on the street wth my dog than to just abandon it.

    Winnipeg, canada

    April 23, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  268. Linda Weitzman

    Hi Jack!

    I do feline rescue work and I can tell you that the number of abandoned and homeless pets has increased dramatically. WHat is shocking is the number who have been abandoned in the cruelest ways. There are humans who are trying to place their pets responsibly but a great er percentage who just leave them in the foreclosed home, the yard, etc without even making a phone call or trying one of the local shelters first! I believe that apartments that are renting to people who have lost their homes should allow (or be forced to allow) pet owners to be able to keep their pets with them.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  269. Paul K

    Hi Jack,

    The President should appoint Dick Cheney Pet Czar. This would give him something to do; rather than meddle current affairs.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  270. ED in RI

    Jack;
    Thanks Jack for bringing this message to the media audience. We have a dog & cat combo, that always bring daily joy into our lives.
    I, frankly, have more affection for animals, than humans, since they are totally dpendent upon their human hosts for love and survival.
    I'll include the abandoned pets in my prayers from this point forward, and hope that a solution will present itself.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  271. Tony from Madison, NH

    Hi Jack,

    My wife and I run a private foundation for dog rescue. We are seeing exactly what you have reported, even here in NH. One thing to try is the local retailers – they often have bags of pet food damaged in shipping etc. that they cannot sell on the shelves, but will donate to a shelter or good cause, or sell at discount.

    We understand the situation, but urge people to remember that these animals are a part of your family, we see the pure agony and betrayal of these animals when separated from their families every day – just like if you gave up your child. Try harder to keep them in your homes – please!

    April 23, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  272. Marilyn - Tallahassee, FL

    I've had friend who've had precisely this problem, and I've taken in more pets than I should have. Each community's wealthier citizens should look at their own healthy safe pets and seek ways to help those who are in danger of losing theirs. In my community, some of the vet's help by taking pets and offering them for adoption at lower rates than the shelters. And sadly, spaying and neutering becomes less possible for the pets of the unemployed. So, the situation will only get worse.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  273. Mimi

    Abandoning companion animals should be a criminal offense. As a shelter volunteer, I've looked into pleading eyes that ask for no more than a kind touch and a meal. If I became homeless you would find me sitting on the curb with two leashes in my hands and a couple of cat carriers at my feet. Where I go my animals go. It's not an option for me to walk away from them when they've given me so much.

    Like the lady with the golden retrievers, I'd most likely end up sleeping in my car.

    Sault Sainte Marie, MI

    April 23, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  274. Winkie Park, Prince Edward Island

    Jack, It is clear that you are a warm and fuzzy man. Why not divert some of the bailout money to the humane societies and local animal shelters so they can help people hold on to their pets? After the disaster in New Orleans, surely this country can do better by our four legged friends. Toussenel wrote, "God created man; then seeing how weak he was, gave him the dog."

    April 23, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  275. Bill of Hewlett, NY

    We can reduce the number of abandoned pets if we: (1) reduce the number of animals by reimbursing veterinary clinics for spaying or neutering pets free of charge to owners; (2) allow apartment dwellers to keep their pets by requiring landlords to admit pets for a reasonable fixed percentage increase in rent; and (3) assist animal shelters by using stimulus money to create more shelters (where people are employed).

    April 23, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  276. Penny

    I work in an office building in Pompano Beach, FL. Beyond the perimeter of the parking lot, in the back of the building, live about 30 feral cats. I and another few people bring them food every day; one man brings food on the weekend. I called every shelter from Pompano Beach up to Boca to try to find somewhere to place some of the more friendly cats. Not one place had space for them. Now, several of them are pregnant. A couple of weeks ago I saw a "new" cat...a beautiful Siamese cat. Some of the cats have developed skin problems. One of the women who works in the building called the Humane Society and SPCA to try to get the cats 'fixed' but was told they don't have money to take care of strays.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  277. Betty Ashley

    Some of these adoption centers should realize that more animals could be adopted if they would lower their adoption fees. I think $100 – $200 is too much money to adopt a cat. These agencies realize what a strain it is on them to house these animals, well adoptees feel the strain because they will have to pay for food, medical treatments, litter, and other needs for the care of these animals. I want to adopt a kitten, an each time I am told it will cost approximately $150.00 I change my mind. I remember the days when cats were about $15.00.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  278. Tom from NC

    Just a couple of ideas. Put a limit on the number of animals that an individual is allowed to breed. How about giving a tax deduction for pets (up to a reasonable limit). Why not? The government funds research programs that inflict horrendous tortures on innocent animals. Why not chip in a little to help those who are trying to alleviate the suffering of animals?

    April 23, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  279. independent4ever los angeles, ca

    As a pet lover, I find it very alarming to hear of how many pets are being left behind. I think people need to take into account how fairly inexpensive pet food / cat litter can be. I do wish, however, that more humane societies / veterenarians would make vaccinations/medications/check ups a lot less costly so that people would not have to worry about that aspect of their pet's care. Nowadays, it costs more to take my pet to the Vet than it costs me to take my child to the Doctor. Something needs to be done about that.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  280. sandy, los angeles, ca

    This just kills me. Taking on a pet for me is equivalent to having a child. I once faced being homeless rather than giving up my dog. Keeping her was the best decision I ever made. For people who just think they can't, look to "foster" homes for pets, they do exist and other pet owners for adoption. I would encourage more active prosecution, but that is a tough request with overburdened police. Time to think outside the box. Thank you for helping encourage the necessary discussion.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  281. DONALD

    Maybe if the public was asked to help by fostering some of these pets for awhile, it would help? If they don;t know about them, they can;t help. Anyone who leaves a pet behind unintended to should be arrested .
    Jo

    April 23, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  282. Marc

    Jack,
    This must be stopped! We should round up all the stray cats and dogs and question them on where their owners are located. If they refuse to be compliant and answer our questions honestly, we must then implement water boarding techniques and other harsh interrogation practices to determine the whereabouts of their owners. Remember Jack, the ends justify the means!

    April 23, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  283. Frank Venezia

    Granted the economy is making it more difficult for people to afford food and care for their pets. However, these are fragile little lives that they committed to care for...lives who feel fear and pain just like a human child. Some people surely will be forced by circumstance to give their pets up. But most could probably afford to continue feeding and caring for them if they put the animals above a new pair of shoes, cable TV service, dancing lessons for their kid, a Broadway play, etc. Point is, history shows that American treat animals like yesterday's can of Chef Boyardee and it's despicable! We have the worst value system in the so-called civilized world.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  284. Frank Venezia

    Granted the economy is making it more difficult for people to afford food and care for their pets. However, these are fragile little lives that they committed to care for...lives who feel fear and pain just like a human child. Some people surely will be forced by circumstance to give their pets up. But most could probably afford to continue feeding and caring for them if they put the animals above a new pair of shoes, cable TV service, dancing lessons for their kid, a Broadway play, etc. Point is, history shows that American treat animals like yesterday's can of Chef Boyardee and it's despicable! We have the worst value system in the so-called civilized world.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  285. Bill from Kansas City

    It's quite simple Jack. We must follow Bob Barker's famous saying "Help control the pet population, have your pet spayed or neutered".

    April 23, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  286. Lilian Caughlin

    Pets are now included in evacuation plans. They should also be allowed by law to be included in a relocation. There are many Organzations that will provide food and Veterinarians who offer their services. The only problem is housing. It's cruel inhumane and Un American to force people to part with their beloved companions. Most people lost their homes because they lost their jobs not because they lived over their budgets.No jobs no money it's simple.
    As Americans we just simply have to come up with a solution along those lines.That's what we do best solve problems for the good of many. The pets of this country have to be included when their owners have to move into Apartments.
    Lilian Caughlin
    Golden Valley,AZ

    April 23, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  287. Brian Tourville

    New Paltz.New York.

    When moving to an Apartment – Pet Owners can plead their Case to the Landlord by offering them an Additional Security Deposit to cover any Damage that might be caused by the Pet.

    Usual Concerns are having the Carpeting Professionally Cleaned –
    Scratching to Woodwork – Urine Stains to Flooring.

    I've seen this employed before and accepted by Landlords.

    I am Disabled & SSi income only.

    I kept my Cat while without Section 8 Rent Assistance by buying a half gallon of milk then returning it & buying some Cat Food – go figure.

    Good Dry Cat Food 20lbs bag is $12.00 per month.

    Not bad to keep a Best Friend alive and Around

    April 23, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  288. Kevin

    We should make room in the White House so the pets can join Bo. Don't worry, the Republicans were taking up too much room anyway.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  289. Gary Sloan

    I do not for the life of me know how anybody can abandon their pet(s), regardless of their fiscal situation. These wonderful animals give us more love and companionship than many humans do, and I simply believe as many pet owners as humanly possible should keep their pets. If I still had my dog, I would sacrifice anyway necessary to ensure his health and well being; afterall, he was my best friend, and I still remember him everyday of my life!

    Gary
    Lexington,KY

    April 23, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  290. coco

    I find the topic of abandoned pets almost as disterbing as abandoned family members. With all of the needy pets in shelters, where is the conciousness of American people that they will buy from puppy mills, rather than give a needy pet ahome. Is there some status from a pedigree as versus of humanity for adopting? It's a matter of conciousness, isn't it?

    April 23, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  291. Paulette Allan

    I am a dog trainer and animal shelter volunteer. i would like to convince all the cat and dog breeders in the country to please stop breeding for at least six months to a year in which to give many pets a chance to be adopled and save so many lives.

    Paulette Allan
    Dog Ttrainer
    HInsdale, Illinois

    April 23, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  292. Amie from Mulberry, Indiana

    Perhaps landlords can end their incessant whining about not filling their units by allowing tenants with pets to rent; a win-win situation. I'm sure pet-free college-aged roommates with weekend parties are far more destructive than a couple with a house cat. As far as allergies for future tenants are concerned, scrubbing spilled beer stains out of the carpet costs just as much as steam cleaning away pet dander. Anyway, it's called a security deposit for a reason – renter beware. What do landlords have to lose?

    April 23, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  293. Dorie from Ann Arbor, Michigan

    Pets are our loyal and trusting friends and companions. They give us unconditional love, emotional comfort, joy, and companionship. Studies have proven that pets not only enhance our physical and emotional well-being but have a positive impact on the overall quality of our lives. All pets ask for in return is food, shelter, and love. Why is it so hard for so many people to grant this?

    While there are certainly people who are truly so financially devastated that they have had no choice but to part with their beloved pets, too many people simply discard their pets when it is no longer convenient for them to care for them.

    But many people who love their animal companions just do not know that support is available. Some apartments do not allow pets, but many do. Many animal shelters are offering pet food assistance to animal guardians who are struggling financially, along with behavior helplines to help those whose pets are acting out in some way.

    There are organizations (such as the TLC/Zimmer Foundation in Ann Arbor) that offer a low income spay/neuter and feral cat colony assistance program. Reducing the overpopulation of unwanted animals through affordable spay/neuter programs and humane Trap/Neuter/Release (TNR) programs is critical, for as long as there are more pets than people who are willing to adopt them, animal shelters will continue to euthanize millions of animals each year.

    If you own an apartment building, make it a pet friendly one!! If you have time, volunteer at your local animal shelter to help nurture the poor animals there or foster an abandoned animal until it can be adopted. If you have money, make a donation to organizations that conduct TNR programs or help rescue, feed, and care for abandoned animals. And if you have a pet, please please please do not abandon the animal that trusts, loves, and depends on you.

    If we all do our part, we can save the lives of many animals, and in so doing, we may even save our own.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  294. Dan from Maplewood NJ

    Maybe we could use government surplus milk and meat to create a shelter-only pet food, to support them through this time. Mercy is called for. And eliminate feral dogs and cats, mercy is not called for.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  295. Susan

    This almost happened to until a friend told me about a rental he had that would allow me to keep my pets. It is sick that places are allowed to refuse pets. If you have a proven history of taking care of your pet (such as references) and are willing to pay a pet deposit more apartments / houses/duplexes should be willing to take on pets. I know people who have children that are louder and more destructive than my dogs...why do people assume that a dog bark is considered annoying, but not a baby crying / screaming non-stop. It is getting harder and harder to rent anywhere that will allow dogs. As a recently divorced woman, I wouldn't feel safe living alone without my dog. People need to come to grips with this.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  296. Sue Delguidice

    The only solution is to SPAY & NEUTER every single pet possible to prevent overpopulation. Stop the overbreeding of dogs & cats by breeders for profit!

    Breeders should be limited- just like hunters or fishermen on how many per year they can produce.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  297. ANDRES SAENZ(Albuquerque, NM)

    Like Bob Barker used to say on The Price is Right, "Have your pet spayed or neutered!". Then there would be a smaller population of abandoned pets throughout the country.

    I have not abandoned my dog...I always take good care of him. I give him a shower once every week, I feed him and give him water, and I make sure he gets exercise. People should not have more pets than they can handle, that's for sure.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  298. Sharon

    This situation to me is one of the most distressing one's of this recession. I have rescued 10 cats and I already had 3 plus a dog. The biggest problem in my estimation is the COST of animal food and the requirements by State and local governments of the expense of vacinations and control of birth. Lower these costs and people might be able to see their way clear to keeping them. Why does cat food cost three times as much as dog food?

    April 23, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  299. Cody NJ

    If I had to give up a pet I would ask a few members of my family or friends if they wanted to take my pet and could care for it. If that doesn't work then just see if a local shelter will take them. Our local shelter thankfully has great care for the animals. Just leaving a pet on the road though is just horrible. There needs to be more public awareness on other alternatives in case you just can't care for your pet and not throw it away like trash.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  300. paula

    there are still people who want to adopt but shelters make it too difficult,if you work for instance they wont let you have an animal because it would be neglect. the rules and regs they have are ridiculous.why do you think people Buy them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 23, 2009 at 5:26 pm |