An animal rescue group is helping a New Jersey couple who say they don’t have enough resources to care for their 16 starving dogs. Officials say it was a classic case of hoarding that has become an all too familiar picture.
The couple’s home is located in Cream Ridge, Monmouth County. The Animal Welfare Association in Voorhees is stepping in to help the couple and the dogs. The owners, who are facing eviction, called the animal rescue group to let them know they could no longer take care of their pets.
One dog had visible bite marks on his face from fighting for food with the other dogs that are now in various shelters.
“They weren’t able to pay for as much dog food as these guys were going through,” said Nicole Dubois of the Animal Welfare Association. “There was no way for them to be able to take them for a yearly visit to a Vet.”
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Some of the dogs were taken to a No Kill shelter in Voorhees. Some were so skinny their ribs and hip bones are visibly jutting from their bodies. They are being fed a special diet. Others were treated for Lyme disease. Rescuers say they wish the owners had known they could have called for help sooner.
“That sense of not being able to reach out, embarrassment about where the pets are and where their lives are creates a downward spiral,” said Maya Richmond of the Animal Welfare Association. “We see the pets suffer even more.”
Since the economy took a dive a few years ago, local animal shelters have seen more pet owners give up their pets for adoption. In light of this, the Animal Welfare Association is helping pet owners who are struggling financially. A normal vet visit could cost hundreds of dollars. The Association is offering $15 vaccines for pets however.
“I couldn’t afford it otherwise,” said one pet owner. “I’m on a fixed income.”
“Without this we would have less gas, less food, less everything,” said another owner.
The shelter in Voorhees is one of the few that offers a vaccine clinic every week. What’s most disturbing to shelter workers however is when pet owners wait too long leading to situations like the recent one in Monmouth County.
“People want to keep their pets and they want to keep them happy,” said Richmond. “But they’re stretching their dollar to the limit and they are forced to make decisions. “
Since the no kill shelter in Voorhees started the weekly clinic, the number of pet owners bringing their animals for shots has doubled to over 4,000 a year.
“This place is fabulous,” said one pet owner. “I thank God for it.”