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This dog is so cute; he’ll even buy your gas

Posted July 2, 2008

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— Gas prices are up, food prices are higher and for some, mortgage problems are leading to soaring foreclosure rates.  With all the economic turmoil, more people are giving up their pets.

The SPCA of Wake County said they are seeing a 14 percent increase in animals being given up by their owners than this time last year. The reason: their owners can't afford to take care of them.

“Within the last 24 hours, we've seen six animals come to our door solely because of the economy. The inability to take care of them, to feed them, and that's unprecedented here,” Hope Hancock, SPCA of Wake County executive director, said.

During these tough economic times, apology notes found with pets left on the doorsteps is all to common.

“There's just cage, after cage, after cage of animals,” Pam Powell said as she looked into adopting a SPCA pet.

Hancock said that is a sign of how times have changed.

“This is not a happy time at all,” Johnston County Animal Service director Ernie Wilkinson added.

Johnston County's animal shelter is seeing the same problem – more pets coming to the shelter, and fewer going out.

“As we see those animals coming into the shelter now, these animals have been loved and cared for and nourished. They've had proper veterinary care,” Wilkinson said.

Some dogs at the shelter are even registered with the American Kennel Club.

Shelter directors said it is clear many pet owners are being forced to make the difficult decision of giving them up.

“It's sad that animals become dispensable. That's one thing people see themselves as being able to get rid of,” Hancock said.

From July 7 to July 31, the SPCA of Wake County is offering $10 gas cards to anyone who adopts a pet.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • tank1234 Jul 3, 2008


  • carolinakhaki Jul 3, 2008

    I have to agree with the others who've said that anyone who would give up a pet for "economic reasons" really didn't want that animal in the first place. I'd skip a meal, a trip to the movies, and a lot more of the things I spend money on if it meant keeping my dog well-nourished and healthy.

  • 1trhl Jul 3, 2008

    I feel bad for these animals. I don't think $10 in gas is much of an incentive. It would probably take 2.5 gallons of gas to pick up the dog from the shelter and then drive around getting the food and other stuff you need to take care of the dogs.

  • Stormy13 Jul 3, 2008

    enidanadine: I agree with you completely! Landlords charge huge deposits/fees for pets, why not for children? I have seen must more damage done to an apartment that housed a couple of kids than one that had pets. Where I live now I paid a $200 non-refundable pet fee when I signed my lease and also pay $15 additional each month for "pet rent". I honestly feel they charge all these fees to discourage their tenants from giving a loving and caring home to a homeless and needing pet!

  • shellbelle Jul 3, 2008

    I can't imagine how heartbreaking it would be to have to give up a pet when you don't want to. Like some of the other posts, I believe it could be due to people being displaced from their homes... forclosure, having to find a cheaper place to rent, places not allowing pets, etc. People that are just 'dumping' their animals off, don't leave apology notes along with the animals. It's so sad that things have gotten so bad with the economy that they feel they have no choice.

  • Scubagirl Jul 3, 2008

    "Another recycled story on WRAL. This is the second time I've seen this story."

    And your point is??? The more this story is out there maybe the more people will adopt an animal-gas card or not. This is sad, both for the pets who can never understand why their people left them and for the owners who make the sad decision. I too wish I could have more than my 2 & 2.

  • tarheelalum Jul 3, 2008

    I agree with most of the posts. If you really wanted the pet...you would keep it. Regardless of how bad the economy is...you can still afford a $5 bag of dog/cat food if you could a year ago. There are enough free vet clinics to take care of those needs as well. There are of course some situations(deployment is the only major one I can think of) that would require this, but the majority of these people simply weren't ready for the responsibility of taking care of a pet. I agree w/ colliedave...I would go without before my pets!

  • enidanadine Jul 2, 2008

    I have been searching online for a cat, and what I've run across mostly are people who are having to move to another home or to an apartment. Their new landords won't allow pets, even indoor pets so I blame the housing authorities for our overfilled shelters. Just another factor to consider..

  • Trivr Jul 2, 2008

    If this is due to the economic state, it's sad how people are having to scrimp and sacrifice while county and city leaders are proposing even higher taxes. Morrisville proposed a 19% tax hike. They truly don't care about their people.

  • mklocklear Jul 2, 2008

    That's horrible. When you make the decision to *have* an animal, in my opinion you make the decision then and there to provide for the animal - regardless. Sure, my dogs and cats aren't eating top of the line pet food; but they are happy, healthy, loved and have full bellies. Stories like this make me wish I could adopt all of them.