Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pets struggling in bad economy, too

By JENALEA MYERS, Herald Night News Editor | 11/12/2009

Tough economic times for people can mean tough times for pets, too.

At least that’s what Emily Mathis, director of the Bea Martin Peck Animal Shelter, and her staff have seen in recent months as more people are leaving their pets behind when they move from Franklin County.

Tough economic times for people can mean tough times for pets, too.

At least that’s what Emily Mathis, director of the Bea Martin Peck Animal Shelter, and her staff have seen in recent months as more people are leaving their pets behind when they move from Franklin County.

“We have definitely seen an increase in animals coming into the shelter, making it even more important that we have money coming in along with them,” Mathis said. “Many animals are being abandoned when people have to leave their homes.”

But not all of those pets are fortunate enough to make it to the shelter, she said.

“We’ve also seen an increase in pets being dumped in the country and within the city limits,” Mathis said. “Some families that you would not normally expect to be giving up their pets are having to due to financial burdens.”

Although there has been an increase in the county and within Ottawa, some of the county’s smaller towns, like Pomona, may not have seen anymore abandoned animals than usual.

“We have not seen any increase yet,” Bob Barkley, animal control officer for the City of Pomona, said.

He said he finds about one stray animal a week, which has been about average for Pomona over the past several months.

“A lot of times there’s no collar and no tag,” he said. “I don’t know how many are reclaimed at the shelter.”

With the additional animals coming into the shelter, Mathis said staff members have struggled to keep up.

“We have had to cut back on help when we are already struggling to take care of all the animals in the first place,” she said. “We are in need of adult volunteers that can give a few hours at a time to help us keep up with washing dishes, cleaning and doing laundry.”

Donations of such items as cat litter, large trash bags, laundry soap and bleach also always are needed, she said.

Mathis said spaying or neutering animals is one way to help the overpopulation in the county and maybe avoid situations where families later are forced to leave pets behind.

“The public more than ever needs to be responsible for keeping their unaltered pets confined so they don’t add to the already large problem,” she said.

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