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It’s hard times for our animals

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By Jeff Wooldridge

The recent economy crisis is having an affect on everyone, not only us humans but our animals are also feeling the pinch.

The nation wide trend of abandoning animals and surrendering lifelong pets at the shelter for lack of money is starting to show up here in Marion County. Just last week we had two beautiful Rottweilers brought into the shelter because the owner could no longer feed them. We've had several pure bred pups surrendered because they were the last of the litters and were not selling as quickly as before.  Breeders of large dogs are finding it harder to sell their pups when they used to have a waiting list. When a potential adopter comes in to view the dog the question of how much money will this dog cost to feed is asked.

The complaints concerning the welfare of animals have steadily gone up since the middle of summer, about the same time gas hit $4 a gallon. Here at the shelter we have been involved in several cases concerning neglect and most of the time it has just been lack of resources. When it's a choice of, am I going to eat or is the dog, the dog goes hungry or it's fed table scraps which does little to sufficiently nourish the dog. With this dog still being hungry he is going to revert to scavenging for his own, this means the trashcan and most of the time it's the neighbor's trash.

For female dogs and cats that are expecting a litter, being undernourished at this time not only puts the mom in danger but it greatly reduces the chances of the offspring being born healthy and staying healthy. Puppies and kittens receive immunity from diseases from their mother's milk. This is jeopardized when the mother is underfed. If a litter is brought into the shelter and they did not receive some immunity, they will most likely die since the shelter is a breeding ground for all different diseases.

This is a problem that I see getting worse before it gets better, especially with winter season upon us. Hard times makes us all look at ourselves and decide where we can cut cost, hopefully it's not the pets food and care. If you are overloaded with pets and can't manage them, maybe it's time to cut back on your numbers.  Just a suggestion, if you are planning on bringing them to the shelter, they need to be healthy. So bring them in before they suffer from malnourishment. With the Rescue Wagon now taking dogs up north to be adopted, we are able to find homes for most of the dogs that come in here in good physical shape.

We can help you here at the shelter if you are having financial problems. If we can't help you directly, not to worry, we have a lot of shelter friends that can. This help is only for those who truly need it because of some hardship or bad luck that has happened. If the vehicle you drive is a new Escalade and you both work don't bother asking.

Just remember that we as pet owners are responsible for our animal's welfare. That means nutritional food daily, clean water, adequate shelter and regular vet checks that include necessary shots.

That's all for this week. Give your pets a hug because they only know love for their owner, whether they are hungry or not.  For all of your adoption needs check with our great selection here at the Marion County Animal Shelter. Put a little love in your life and adopt from us.

Editor's note: Jeff Wooldridge is the Marion County animal control officer.