THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) – People are dropping off a record number of animals at the Thomasville-Thomas County Humane Society.
Officials say there are many reasons why people give up their pets, but the economy seems to be the biggest factor.
No one wants to live a life behind bars. But for these homeless animals, that's the life they face every day.
"it's puppy and kitten season. And it has been for several weeks. In the past couple of days, we've seen more than forty cats delivered here," said Joyce Patterson of the Humane Society.
The Thomasville/Thomas County Humane Society takes in mostly strays during the peak spring and summer months. But lately, they've seen an alarming rate of family pets and pure-bred animals being dropped off.
"The economy has definitely affected people and it is also a matter of people not being able to afford to feed their pets," said Patterson.
A twenty pound bag of dog food cost about $15 and feeds two Labradors for just over a week. Now if you've done the math, that's around $550 a year, just for the cost of food.
And the economy isn't affecting just pet owners. "Of course, it's a hardship on all of our animals here because we're struggling financially to pay OUR bills."
Officials say people should take their time when considering whether they can afford and care for an animal before making it a pet.
"They are not a piece of equipment or toy. they are a live creature. We're certainly happy to take these animals from people so that they don't starve to death or get hit by a car in the street. But we cannot in any way possible find homes for all of these animals. And so many of these animals are euthanized," said Joyce Patterson.
Which means for most of these innocent animals, they aren't facing life behind bars, they're on death row.
Patterson says spaying and neutering your pets and not feeding stray animals in your neighborhood cut down on animal overpopulation.
If you're looking for a pet, she encourages you to rescue a shelter animal instead of buying from a breeder or pet store.