WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) — Animal shelters and rescue groups have been talking a lot on social media lately about the need for adoptions. Many feel that families can no longer afford their pets, causing shelters to burst at the seams.
In a recent message from Jewel Horton, director of the Pender County animal shelter, he said he had 152 animals, but only 100 cages. “Right now, the economic impact that COVID has had on homes and housing and the financial crisis we are seeing now is that people have to lose their pets because they can no longer afford them because of the secondary effects from COVID and the economy” Horton said.
There have been similar reports from Bladen and New Hanover counties. “At the moment we are at a very high capacity with animals. We see a lot of them being dumped, not only at the shelter, but we also see them being dumped in the field where they go over a dirt road and just dump them,” said Jodi Kerwin of the New Hanover County Animal Shelter.
Rosey’s Rescue Founder Rosey Milazzo has seen this before. She and her volunteers rescued 14 puppies that had been dumped by the river. One of them, Winston, now spends his days at Paws Resale Shoppe with his new mother. That store helps raise money for Rosey’s rescue efforts. It is one of many rescue groups that get calls from local shelters when they need help.
“I got an email from the New Hanover Animal Shelter. They are looking for help for us to rescue dogs, I got a message from the Pender Shelter, they called me, they said please help, we have several litters,” said Milazzo of Rosey’s Rescue and PAWS Resale Shoppe.
But rescue groups are also struggling, and Milazzo is concerned.
“We are not doing the adoptions we did before COVID or when COVID first started and not that COVID is over and the economy is so bad everyone is sending their COVID puppies back. I’ve been involved in rescues for over 14 years, I’ve done other rescues in the area before opening my own and I’ve been everywhere from Robeson to Sampson County and everything in between and I’ve never seen it like this before.”
Before you give up your pet, there are other options.
“If you need temporary help, we can help you. My shop PAWS Resale Shoppe, contact us, we can help you with food, we can help you with vaccines, if we rebuild our donations, we can help you with medical bills,” said Milazzo.
“Call your local shelter and have that conversation. There are many more resources that I don’t think people realize. There are pet food banks to help with food aid. If you need spaying or neutering, you stop these unwanted litters, slow down the influx of animals that come in. Don’t just assume the worst,” Horton said.
Dumping an animal should never be an option.
“That’s unacceptable to me. It’s not fair to the animal, they don’t know what’s going on. That’s one of the harder things for me, just to see people get a dog, who have a few years and then just get rid of it,” Kerwin said.
There are things you can do to help local shelters and rescue groups and prevent animals from being euthanized. You can cherish or donate stuff or money.
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