Help for animals during tough times!

We found this great story from The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina.

More people surrendering animals to shelters

By Prentiss Findlay (Contact)
The Post and Courier
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Ashley Mills wanted to keep a cat her mom found at an abandoned house, but it was just too expensive in tough times.

"If the cat got sick, I could not afford to take it to the vet," she said.

The rising cost of living, coupled with a recession, shaped her decision to take the cat to the Charleston Animal Society, where staff named it Linus.

"The cat was very sweet. I could see myself easily becoming attached to it," said Mills, 28, a Daniel Island coffee shop barista. "Now it's mostly guilt because I can't take care of the cat. I'd feel a lot better if the cat found a home."

Mills' story is one that shelter officials are hearing more often these days as pet owners are forced to make difficult choices because of the economy. Some surrender their animals after losing a job or home. Others cut costs by moving in with a relative who doesn't want the animal around.

"It's increased a great deal. I'm sure all the shelters are feeling it," said J.J. Messervy, president of the Francis R. Willis Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Summerville. Up to five people per week surrender an animal at the Dorchester Countyshelter because of the cost of caring for it. That is a six-fold increase over last year in the number of pets given up for economic reasons, he said.

To help the situation, the Charleston Animal Society will start a pet food bank to offer a month's worth of free food for those struggling to keep their dog or cat because of financial problems. The organization plans to announce the new initiative on Sept. 2, said Charles Karesh, the society board of directors president.