ORLANDO, Fla. — Orange County Animal Services is reporting a 37% increase in abandoned pets compared to this time last year, and officials say one of the many reasons is increased housing costs in the area.
what you need to know
- Orange County Animal Services has seen a 37% increase in abandoned pets compared to this time last year
- Experts say the rise in the cost of living in Orange County is a major factor behind the increase in animals being abandoned
- Now the Orange County Animal Services shelter is full of animals waiting for a new home
Bryant Almeida loves animals and says it hurts to see some animals struggling to find forever homes.
“Marnie is our unofficially longest resident,” he said, pointing to a dog that has been at the shelter for about 180 days.
“A lot of people come with a blueprint of an animal they want,” he continued. “What we like to see actually surprises them.”
The county is seeing an increase in the number of people giving up their pets, and experts say housing costs are one of the reasons for the increase.
“It’s heartbreaking to see because a lot of these people don’t want to give up their animals,” Almeida said.
He said another reason for the increase is inflation, and with the increased cost of rent, feed and even vet bills, many pet owners are making difficult decisions.
“It’s not always people’s faults,” Almeida said. “We have a lot of condo complexes here in Orlando that don’t accept certain breeds, that don’t accept certain size dogs. Unfortunately, those are the guys who suffer.”
Now Orange County Animal Services is having to make adjustments due to the increase in pets.
“It’s tough every day,” he said. “They don’t have 20-30 animals left, so we need to double the number of animals in cages.
Almeida said the animals are confused because many of them are abandoned by their owners, leaving them homeless one day and living in a shelter the next.
Some things owners can do to help the situation are to spay or neuter their pets, he said. Orange County Animal Services provide free spaying and neutering for eligible low-income Orange County residents.
Anyone thinking they are in the right place to adopt or foster a pet, there are a number of cats and dogs waiting for their forever home.
The agency is running a special this month where adoption fees have been reduced to $11, which includes spay/neuter services and a microchip.