Pets left behind in foreclosed homes |

Pets left behind in foreclosed homes

When a tough economy forced people to foreclose on their homes or downsize to smaller apartments, the pet population took a hit, said staff at the county’s animal shelter.

As many as 60 cats and kittens are crowding cages at the shelter on McCourtney Road and several more litters are being bottle fed at foster homes. Adoptions also have slowed, said Ruth Rasmussen, senior kennel attendant.

“I’ve got kittens that have been here since May,” Rasmussen said.

On Thursday, 10 more cats and seven dogs were admitted. Two more were turned away.

Some of the cats come from real estate agents who find them abandoned in foreclosed homes, Rasmussen said.

“The economy is a big factor. People can’t afford them. The animals are usually the first to go,” she said.

Along with abandoned animals left in boxes, the number of “owner take-ins” has increased partly because of moving families, Rasmussen said.

“A lot of places don’t allow a pet at all or have outrageous deposits,” Rasmussen said.

In past years, a waiting list existed for cute, irresistible kittens. Not anymore.

“I have kittens here for two to three months. They’re growing up here,” Rasmussen said.

So far, the shelter has not euthanized any of the cats for lack of space.

Despite the availability of free and low-cost spay and neuter programs, people are choosing not to use them, Rasmussen said.

Kitten season typically begins in the spring, and an adult female cat can give birth to two litters in a season.

Once kittens grow up, they become more difficult to adopt.

Vouchers providing discounts to pet owners to spay and neuter their animals are available at the Animal Shelter, and Animal Save has a new low-cost mobile unit for people who can’t afford to take their animals to the veterinarian for surgery.

Adoptions at the shelter are open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The cost is $50 to adopt a pet that has been spayed or neutered and comes with a clean bill of health.

For people with big hearts who want to adopt two animals, the cost is $75.

“If people have a hard time making those hours, we are very flexible when it comes to adopting,” Rasmussen said.

To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail or call 477-4231.

More Info

To view animals sheltered at the county facility online, visit

People interested in adopting a cat can contact the Animal Shelter by email at: or call 470-2707.

For more information about Animal Save’s low-cost mobile spay and neuter clinic, call 477-1706.

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