People aren’t the only casualties of a tough economy -- pets may be paying the price, too.
Plano’s animal shelter reports it is over capacity largely because of a rise in the number of pets that have been surrendered by their owners.
"The No. 1 reason we've been getting is moving or can't afford (a pet)," said Debbie New, a shelter employee. "Part of it is attributable to the economy, possibly."
The number of surrendered pets is staggering. In May alone, the shelter took in 140 surrendered animals. The first eight days of June added 60 more. The shelter also took in nearly 700 stray animals in the same time period.
"We've gotten in so many, we're above capacity at this shelter,” New said.
But plenty of people are adopting pets. Adoptions are first-come, first-serve, so Debbie Davis is sleeping in her car overnight to adopt the beige Yorkie she has had her eye on for days.
"It's going to be worth it, because I'm going to give another puppy a second chance,” she said.
But many animals are not getting that chance. Plano's shelter has more than 160 cats and kittens and more than 100 dogs and puppies. The shelter is pricing them like cars -- priced to go at $25 for cats and between $40 and $60 for dogs.
And the fees pay for a lot of extras.
"This includes the spay/neuter, the first puppy or kitten shot, the heartworm test, the vaccinations, the rabies vaccinations and a microchip,” New said.
Shelters are doing all they can to avoid having to euthanize the animals. But adoptions simply aren’t keeping pace with surrenders, even with potential owners such Davis who camp out in the parking lot.
Animal shelters across the Metroplex are also dealing with overcrowding issues that are expected to get worse, because more animals are traditionally surrended during vacation season. Other shelters may soon be offering adoption sales and other incentives to find animals home.