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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Pets also Victims of Housing Crisis

Whitney M. Duck
I love dogs! I have two furry children at home right now, Lovie (a pug/Pekingese mix) and Patrick (a very large Yorkie). Both of these pets came to my home through a rescue service and both are truly wonderful animals! I highly recommend pet ownership if you are able to do so. Many folks have allergies that make owning an animal with fur very tough if not impossible! But this is not the point of my column today. Because of the housing crisis, many animal shelters are becoming overwhelmed with displaced animals!
Many shelters take in all sorts of house pets! Anything from cats to snakes and everything in between. It appears that many Americans who liked to have a big home also loved to have more then one pet. A friend of mine, who recently had to declare bankruptcy, went from a three dog home to a one dog apartment in Atlanta. The freedom of owning a home is not quite the same when you downsize to an apartment.
In February of this year, the Examiner,com Baltimore, published an article that the drop off rate of animals to shelters for 2007 had increased by almost 2000 since 2006. The shelter is busting at the seams and there is no end in sight. Shelters routinely take in strays but with people losing their homes, many people are being forced to drop off their pets at local shelters. This is often due to many rental units not allowing pets or the additional costly pet deposit. Often 'dogie rent" is applied monthly along with the move in deposit. Let's face it money is tight and owning an animal is not cheap!!
On the CBS Sunday Morning Show (April 20, 2008) conservative Ben Stein"s Pet Peeve video is about this tragedy hitting local animal shelters and is well worth a look. He expresses his distaste for the lack of funding the local shelters receive and suggests that perhaps the Federal Government could send a bit to the states to help ease this growing problem.
It is not just Ben Stein who has given this issue a voice. Many, many websites dealing with pets have articles with pleas for funds. In Palm Beach Florida, a site by the name of has an article that pleads for help with food and other items to make their growing shelter problem more amicable to the animals that they service. The foreclosure problem has put a massive strain on over 100 area animal rescues sites.
Locally, in Frederick County, Maryland we are not immune to this growing problem. A very lovely and good friend of mine, Barbara Fine, rescues Maltese dogs full time! No matter the day, time, or weather she goes out into the neighborhoods or county to pick up Maltese in need of shelter. Her website is At one time as many as 12 Maltese have lived with Barbara and each has received the proper medical care and nutrition. Also, a lot of love and affection!
My own dog Patrick came to me through I went to the website and viewed over 50 Yorkies in different stages of life and temperament. I must warn you that to adopt a Yorkie or Maltese involves more than hitting the enter key on your computer. There are forms, interviews, and adoption fees that must be taken care of. It is not always cheap but the people who run these rescue missions stand by their animals and will gladly take them back if the pet is not right for your home!
Sometimes, it is the little things we take on in life that bring us the most happiness. If there is room in your home and life and you would like to own a pet try checking out some of the sites listed above. There are too many animals out there that need homes! Every Pets Mart holds adoption Saturday - take a look there! There might be someone just right for your home! I know that owning a pet is not easy nor is it cheap.
If you cannot take an animal in, please call the local animal shelter and ask what they need and donate supplies! The Frederick County Animal Shelter located on Rosemont Ave. in Frederick, Md. (301) 600-1546 will gladly take your call!! You can make some animal very happy and give back to the community!

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