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Who Will Rescue the Animal Rescue Shelter?

August 8, 2009

Please help us!

“Animal shelters across America feel the sting of the recession,” says Jennifer Yates, managing director of LIFE Animal Rescue serving Malibu. “Pet owners are facing foreclosures and other financial crises. They can no longer afford to care for their animals or donate money. Every shelter I know is underfunded and overcrowded.”

Who will rescue the animal rescue shelter?

It’s a question that plagues animal-shelters across the nation. At the national level the number of abandoned and surrendered animals continues to soar since the onset of the recession in 2007. The number of surrendered pets in the U.S. increased by 44 percent in the past year, according to NPR’s All Things Considered. Tough economic times lead to less food, supplies, and monetary donations to animal shelters.

Malibu shelters reflect the national crisis. Many local families facing financial woes are giving up their pets to animal rescue shelters. “After I lost my job we had to move to an apartment that did not allow pets. At first we tried to leave our puppy, Oscar, at the no-kill shelters, but no one had room for him. We gave him to LIFE Animal Rescue, the local county shelter. I did not have the heart to tell my son that if Oscar does not find a home, he will be euthanized,” says Marlena Yates, former Malibu resident.

“We have seen the nature of the animal rescues shift from abuse to abandonment due to financial troubles,” says Jennifer Irwin. “Pet adoptions dropped 30 percent last year and the numbers continue to drop. If an animal is not adopted within seven days, we must comply with state law and euthanize them.”

Private Malibu no-kill animal shelters are no better off. “Typically we take in pets whose owners want to ensure that the animals are not at risk of being euthanized. However, these days we are full and all rescued animals are taken to the county shelter,” said Joann Waldo of Malibu Dog Adoptions. There are two no-kill animal shelters serving Malibu: Hope Ranch Animal Rescue and Malibu Dog Adoptions.

“We are in desperate need of food, supplies, and monetary donations. We are sustainable only through the generosity of local donors,” says Irwin from LIFE Animal Rescue. It costs over $10,000 a day to maintain the animal shelter. The shelter saw donations cut in half this year, and if the trend continues the shelter will have to turn away abandoned animals to fend for themselves.

The question remains: who will rescue the animal rescue shelter?

Whether you have money or not, the staff at LIFE Animal Rescue and Hope Ranch Animal Rescue of Malibu give these suggestions for those who want to help rescue local animal shelters:

  1. Consider giving an unwanted pet an adopted home.
  2. Be a foster home for unwanted animals until people can afford to adopt again or take back their pets.
  3. Volunteer a couple hours to help care for the animals at the shelter.
  4. Drop off new and leftover food and supplies such as water bowls, blankets, and leashes.
  5. Give a one-time tax deductible monetary donation.
  6. Sign up for a recurring monthly donation program where your money provides for a specific pet at a shelter.
  7. Rent animals from a Hope Ranch Animal Rescue for a petting zoo. A great idea for kids’ birthday parties.
  8. Spread the word that animal shelters are in crisis and encourage others to help.

To help rescue an animal shelter, contact:

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