Tough economic times hit local animal shelter - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Justin Hanson

Tough economic times hit local animal shelter

TIPTON COUNTY, TN (WMC-TV) - For weeks now, we've been talking about how these tough economic times are affecting humans, but what about our four-legged friends?

It may be hard to believe, but animals, like people, are feeling the pinch of tough economic times.

The Tipton County Animal Shelter is filled to capacity with dogs and cats needing good homes because their owners can no longer afford them.

"They can't afford to feed the dogs and they just turn dogs loose and they call us to come get them," says Shane Hooks with the Tipton County Animal Shelter.

And since shelter officials are required to take the animals in, they too are having trouble making ends meet.

The shelter relies on volunteer support for donations of things like food, kitty litter, and cleaning supplies. 

"We don't have the funds to take care of them...we're definitely stretched," Hooks continues.

"I just saw all those dogs back there and it looked like every one of them wanted to go home with you and it does break my heart," says Richard Montoya.

Montoya is adopting two cats this holiday season. 

But officials say people like Montoya are in the minority --- overall shelter adoptions are down from this time last year simply because of the cost of keeping an animal. 
"Even though its hard times, I think its money well spent on companionship," Montoya continues. 

Animal lovers like Victoria Jones take a different approach to animal adoption.

"I think animals are just like family members...we can't get rid of family members, so why do we want to get rid of our pets," says Jones.

Officials at the Tipton County Animal Shelter say they're taking in about twenty animals per week, which is nearly double what they normally take in during this time of year and that large number is largely due to the sagging economy.  With more animals comes more need for supplies -- if you want to donate to the Tipton County animal shelter, call them at 901-837-5919.

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