Seattle Humane Society sees uptick in abandoned pets amid bad economy
By LINDSAY LARIN
Bellevue Reporter Former Staff Writer
March 18, 2009 · Updated 3:46 PM
With an increase in foreclosures and homes for sale, people are having to downgrade, even in the area of household pets.
The Seattle Humane Society has recorded a rising number of pets coming through their doors due to the troubling economy.
Despite the tough times, the love of animals has prompted an increase in adoptions of adult cats in the month of February, up 83 from last year. In August 2008, the humane society held their annual Catapalooza which accounted for an all-time high adoption record. During the cold winter months of December, the Home for the Holidays Campaign contributed the second highest adoption record from past years.
The rise in pet adoptions have helped to compensate for the number of animals coming through the shelters doors every day.
"Yes, we've seen more pets coming in due to foreclosure and tough economy issues," said Amber N. Yoo, the Marketing Communications Manager for the Bellevue-based humane society. "The overall number isn't changing, but the reason why the pets are brought in is changing."
JoAnn Turnbull, Marketing Director for the Delta Society in Bellevue, said having a pet in tough times like these can be a lifesaver.
According to Turnbull, studies conducted over the past 30 years have found that pet owners have lower blood pressure, lower stress levels and less anxiety. Pets can stimulate the release of endorphins and help with depression, she said, adding, they also offer companionship which is non-judgmental. Having a pet in your life is very positive for your own health and happiness, she said.
The need for pet adoption is still on the rise, with the 84 dogs rescued from the puppy mill raids in Skagit and Snohomish counties currently being cared for at the Seattle Humane Society. The dogs, including little Yorkies, Poodles and Chihuahuas, have gone from a life in small cages with not enough food and water, to warm beds and nutritious meals at Seattle Humane Society. Veterinarians are have provided medical care, including spay and neuter surgeries, to prepare the dogs for adoption.
"I think right now, with the stress today, to come home and relax with your pet and have unconditional love and emotional well-being is crucial," Turnbull explained. "People who have dogs tend to exercise more and socialize with others in the community. Pets are a morale booster like none other."
Become a volunteer foster parent to care for some of the puppy mills refuges and for other shelter guests by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
Adopt a pet:
To help boost pet adoptions in March, the SHS is offering low cat adoption fees of $25 for cats one year and older. Each cat at the Seattle Humane Society is spayed or neutered, vaccinated and micro-chipped. The adoption also includes pet health insurance for a month.
Visit hundreds of cats at the Seattle Humane Society, open seven days a week from noon to 6 p.m. in Bellevue at 13212 SE Eastgate Way. See online profiles at www.seattlehumane.org/adopt. King County Animal Care and Control, http://www.kingcounty.gov/safety/animalservices.aspx.