CITY OF ULSTER, NY – As the price of housing, gas and groceries rises, another symptom of the community’s financial stress is the number of people who feel they have nowhere else choice but to return their pets.
“We are way over dog capacity right now,” Gina Carbonari, executive director of the Ulster County SPCA, said this week. “We had a lot of local surrenders.” Along with the increase in abandonment comes a slowdown in the number of people willing to adopt, or even foster, a pet, she said.
Currently, the Wiedy Road shelter has 44 adoptable dogs waiting for their new homes, Carbonari said. She said, however, the shelter only has 25 kennels, so there are dogs housed in offices, the facility’s training room and some in foster homes.
“And we still have people calling every day to return animals,” Carbonari said. “And the biggest problem is that most of these people lose their homes. They have economic problems. Some of them are forced to change accommodation and now they are no longer allowed to have their pets in their new accommodation.
“So we really need not only affordable housing in this area, but we also need affordable, pet-friendly housing in this area,” Carbonari said. “Because it puts people in very difficult positions to have to make that choice. And we have people every day who call us crying. They are upset that they have to leave a family member with us, but they have no choice because they need a roof over their heads.
Carbonari said the problem is exacerbated for larger dogs. She said that even when landlords allow pets into their rental unit, they sometimes impose a weight limit on the pet’s size. Carbonari said there are very few dogs, even the smallest breeds, that fit into a class of 25 pounds or less. And the size of the animal has no bearing on its temperament, she said.
“It’s a community issue and it’s a symptom of what’s going on in our community,” Carbonari said of the surrendered pets. She said that when people’s finances are strained, they consider giving up their pets because they think the animal would be better off with someone else.
Ulster County Canines, a dog shelter on Route 32 in Saugerties, posted its own plea on Facebook asking people to consider adopting.
“Shelters across the country are in crisis,” the shelter’s message said Friday. “Adoptions have slowed everywhere. This means that shelters are at capacity, full or overfull, and some shelters are forced to euthanize to make room for incoming dogs that haven’t slowed down. Other shelters like UCC simply cannot accommodate any more dogs until adoptions resume.
The community can help by adopting a pet or agreeing to adopt one, Carbonari said. She said the public can also help by volunteering at the shelter to help make sure the dogs in his care get out for walks.
Carbonari said the goal was to bring pets into homes or keep them in their homes. She said the shelter should be a safe haven when a pet has absolutely nowhere to go. If an animal can stay in its home while someone else or the shelter tries to find a new home for it, that’s better, Carbonari said.
The Ulster County SPCA also has programs designed to help people avoid having to surrender their pets, Carbonari said. She said that includes the pet pantry.
The SPCA also streamlined its adoption process to make it easier for people to adopt and removed arbitrary barriers to adoption, such as a house requiring a fenced yard, Carbonari said. She said the adoption process is all about making sure the animal’s personality and temperament matches that of the family who wants to take it into their home. The goal is to have each pet in its own home where it can be loved by its own family, Carbonari said.
Those interested in adopting can visit the shelter’s website and click on the animal’s photo to learn more and complete an application, Carbonari said. She said an adoption counselor would call them within the day to discuss next steps.
Carbonari also said the shelter has already held several events this year where adoption prices have been reduced or removed in an effort to increase the chances of pets finding new homes.
“It’s a national problem right now,” Carbonari said. “We used to bring in transports from other shelters who are forced to euthanize themselves to save space. We used to do this on a monthly basis. We haven’t done this in the last year because we’ve had so many local surrenders that we’ve taken. And so many stray dogs that arrived. … »
The Ulster County SPCA is not euthanizing animals due to space constraints, Carbonari said. She said, however, that when the shelter is full, it cannot help anyone else.
“So not only can we not help people in our own community, but we also cannot help animals that are in other communities and are forced to euthanize themselves to gain space” , said Carbonari. “So these animals end up being killed because there’s just not enough space and there’s nowhere to move them because now we’re all filled with space too.”
Ulster County Canines said in their post that shelters are running out of resources and space, and shelter workers are desperate knowing that many dogs will lose their lives if something does not change.
“When a dog is adopted, there are over 100 dogs waiting to take their safe place and wait for their own loving home,” Ulster County Canines wrote. The shelter added that it offers discounted post-adoption support for each dog adopted by Ulster County Dogs, which includes private boarding, daycare and a low-cost wellness and vaccination clinic. cost as well as lower cost heartworm treatments to help keep dogs in their homes. .
“There are many reasons why people are not adopting right now,” Ulster County Canines wrote. “People are traveling for the first time in three years, we are facing economic difficulties as a country and the costs of private veterinary care have skyrocketed obscenely, making it difficult for people to pay for proper care. for the dogs they already own and cannot care for another. What I don’t think is that every house in America has a dog or more…I don’t think every house is full.
For more information about the Ulster County SPCA, or to find an adoptable dog, visit www.ucspca.org.
To join Ulster County Canines and their adoptable dogs, visit https://ulstercountycanines.com.