So Many Animals — Not Enough People

Shelters are facing a possible crisis

Shelters nationwide are being hit by the economic meltdown. Cash-strapped pet owners have inundated the SPCA with pets that they can no longer afford.

It's not just the usual cats, dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs -- a horse and 50 chickens have also landed at a South Jersey SPCA.

"What I’m seeing is people coming in and being distraught because they can't keep their animal because of an issue that has to do with the economy," said Bev Greco with the Cumberland County SPCA in Vineland, N.J.

Since the spring, the amount of animals arriving at the CC SPCA has nearly doubled. At the same time, adoptions have plunged and there isn't enough space or money to care for them all.

Howard Feldman is one of the few people still adopting. He just adopted a puppy from the Cumberland County SPCA.

"You just try to do your bit and do what you can," said Feldman.

The folks at the SPCA got some help from the holidays, when the number of adoptions traditionally goes up. What might happen after the holidays has them worried.

"Everything points to the fact that our adoptions are going to go down as well as our donations... the outcome, unfortunately, will be more euthanasia," said Greco.

There is also a fear that fewer people will have their pets spayed or neutered because of the sour economy, resulting in breeding and more homeless animals.

The whole stew has created a crisis for the CC SPCA. A crisis that’s left shelter operators in desperate need of donations -- and more people like Feldman, willing to care for pets caught in an economic disaster.

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