Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Shelters in trouble

Spay/neuter is the only way to get ahead of this problem!

Hard times create heartwrenching scene at local animal shelter
Bea Chang

At a time when many are struggling to put food on the table, many are also struggling to care for their pets.

"No one wants to talk about their financial situations," said Brenda Zelinka, the Executive Director of the Northwoods Humane Society.

And they don't have to. The fact that the shelter is now overloaded with cats, tells Zelinka that people are struggling.

"They're embarrassed. They'll say they are downsizing," Zelinka said about the recent increase in people surrending their pets to Northwoods.

Zelinka said some pet owners have been foreclosed on and no longer have space for their pet. Some, she said, simply can't afford to pay for food or vet bills anymore.

Zelinka said many people turning in their pets can't afford to pay the $30 surrender fee. The small shelter in Wyoming usually holds about 80 cats. It is now overloaded with about 117 cats and frequently must turn away people who want to drop off their pets.

Staff said in the past six weeks, 16 pets have been abandoned outside the shelter doors.

"We just had a dog last week in the rain that sat outside all night. It was soaking wet. No blanket, no covering," said staff member Denise Tauer.

Zelinka said about a dozen cats, also abandoned by their owners, are now living in the woods next to the shelter.

Northwoods does not euthanize its animals, so Zelinka said until more cats are adopted, they can't take anymore in.

"It's heartwrenching for the animals and it's very hard emotionally on the staff and volunteers," Zelinka said. "It's not good."

For more information on how to adopt a cat visit the Northwoods Humane Society's website, www.northwoodshs.org

By Julianna Olsen, KARE 11 News
(Copyright 2008 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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