When the Economy Hurts, Many Local Animal Shelters Feel the Pain

Pets are suffering. Donations to the many animal shelters and animal protection organizations are down. When the U.S. economy went into a tail-spin downward more than a decade ago, one of the early groups to suffer adversely was the local animal shelters and the many animal protection organizations and societies (ASPCA, SPCA, state and local animal shelters). The negative economic impact is still affecting these groups even today. Once people get accustomed to – not donating regularly – it can be difficult for folks to re-energize themselves towards renewing their donations and support for those same animal care and welfare facilities. Don’t full yourself into thinking any donation you make will not matter; as the old saying goes, “every penny helps.”

Our four-legged friends are suffering from the current lack of funding and donations from the public. Most, if not all, animal shelters operate primarily on private and public donations as well as by volunteers; many of these places are woefully underfunded. Veterinarian care for stray animals is often provided on a volunteer basis. Not all animal clinics and hospitals can afford to absorb the care and costs incurred from stray or unwanted pets. Community volunteering and donations to local animal shelters are also down, especially in rural areas and counties consisting of low income towns and cities. The unemployed, underemployed, and those folks on tight or fixed incomes are less likely to have discretionary funds available to donate to charity. Many of these same families are finding it difficult to support the pets they have along with managing their own essential bills (home, food, child care, etc.).

Pets Are Not Trash

Some folks that feel they can no longer care for their pets due to costs or time commitment turn their helpless dog or cat loose in neighborhoods, deposit them near veterinary clinics, or at animal shelters. All too often we find these pets left to hunger, the environment, and to torment by ill-mannered people. In one case we found two very docile dogs with matching collars, and one dog obviously ill, left to survive in a State-County Park. Local veterinarians and the shelter are finding pets dropped off at their door, tied to the door handles, and dropped off in boxes. In one case a veterinarian told us that a car drove into the parking lot and tossed a crippled kitten out of the car window then quickly drove off the clinic lot. We hear the same thing from our county animal facilities.

Our adopted cat Gibbs, abandoned by the previous ownerCredit: cory stophlet, 2009

Every shelter would prefer to be a "no-kill" shelter; however, that hasn't always been possible for shelters that have greatly exceeded their capacity to house and support the overwhelming numbers of cats and dogs being dropped off or surrendered to animal facilities across the country. The ability of these shelters to avoid the disheartening act of selecting and euthanizing animals in order to reduce the shelters population to a manageable number has all to do with how much support the facility gets from the community, the county as well as, state and national organizations.

Giving, Make it Part of Your Routine

Give often: Make donating a part of your gift giving activities for each holiday. We are big advocates of providing regularly scheduled donations to the animal shelters. Consider adopting an animal shelter by giving them a donation in the form of money and supplies twice a year or at least once a year. Consider giving a donation on your own birthday and at the holidays. Put some money or a check in a Christmas stocking and drop it off at the shelter during the holidays.  Even gift your local veterinary clinic and animal hospital with a pay-it-forward donation.  We try to equal or exceed what we think we would have spent and then deliver or mail those funds to the animal shelter. On a few occasions we've order pet beds, food, and supplies on-line and had them delivered directly to the animal shelter.

Rescued Stray Dog

Posted by "Howl of a Dog" on September 22, 2013

You Can Make a Difference for Homeless and Injured Animals


Please volunteer to assist your local shelter whether through monetary support, material supplies or as a volunteer to assist the shelter's staff. Take the time to go into one of those facilities and talk with the shelter staff to see if they have any specific needs for the animals in the way of bedding, blankets, paper towels, litter, food, etc., you might find that they are just as happy to have you bring the supplies into the shelter versus cash donations. When you do the purchasing and delivery of the resources it saves the limited staff the time to do the same thing. Again, the shelter staff will greatly appreciate whatever help you can provide.

Many local shelters run solely on individual donations, memberships, and adoption fees. When donation and funding slows or stops, the animals suffer. In many cases, when resources no longer are sufficient to provide even the simplest and basic needs for the pets in their care, these shelters are forced into the saddening task of selecting resident pets to euthanize (put-down, put to sleep, kill or whatever term makes you comfortable). Please give to your local animal shelter and adopt pets from those facilities or adopt those forgotten, innocent pets left abandon to the streets. Don't support breeders. Spade and neuter your pets. There are thousands of pets in shelters in need of homes now.

Our adopted dog FaithCredit: cory stophlet, 2006


You can find your state’s animal shelters by searching on line or you can ask any of the local veterinary clinics and animal hospitals. You may also want to see if the local veterinary clinic or hospital has its own “pay-it-forward” donation program. These pay-it-forward programs allow pet owners and local residents to donate funds or supplies to the clinic/hospital in order to help defray the costs incurred by the facility when someone drops off a stray animal or if an owner cannot afford the needed care necessary to help that pet maintain a decent quality of life.


Here at InfoBarrel you will find even more articles on how you can help our furry friends through volunteering, youth activities, and more. Please help and be a part of the solution.

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