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Pets Suffer During Economic Downturn

Over the past several months, shelters across the country have seen an increase of animals turned in because their owners have lost their homes or jobs, CNN reported.

A spokesman from the Humane Society of Douglas County in Georgia said the abandonment rate has sharply increased from what it was two years ago. With the large increase of animals coming into shelters and and fewer people financially stable enough to adopt pets, nearly all shelters in Douglas Country have been overrun.

"People lose their homes and have to move to apartments that don't accept pets, so they give them up," Cheryl McAuliffe, a spokeswoman for the Georgia State Humane Society, said.

Shelters are also facing difficulties with the sudden increase of requests from people who are unable to provide food for their animals, Stephanie Shain, director of outreach for the Humane Society of the United States, said.

However, no all pets are surrendered to shelters when their owners can no longer care for them. According to Miami-Dade Animal Services, workers are regularly called foreclosed properties where neighbors have reported seeing pets left in backyards or locked inside the vacant houses.

Pet abandonment is also on the rise in the Twin Cities area. In Lakeville, the increase is also being blamed on the economic crisis, according to the Pioneer Press.

Bard Maxwell, Lakeville's animal-control officer, said the first dog abandonment in the city happened January 2006. In 2007, 20 dogs were abandoned in Lakeville. This year alone, nearly 30 dogs have been left in the city.

Most of the abandoned animals are given to shelters or rescue groups, Maxwell said.

In Eagan, animal-control officer Karen Grimm said several people have recently claimed they are unable to pay the reclaiming fee necessary to retrieve their animal from impound.

Mike Fry, the executive director of the no-kill shelter in Hastings Animal Ark, said shelters are seeing an increase in "foreclosure pets."

"When people suffer any kind of economic setback, their animals suffer right along with them," Fry said.