Moving Families Leave Animals Behind

Saturday, December 20th 2008, 11:30 pm
By: News 9

By Jacqueline Sit, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The economy is also taking a toll on four legged friends. Many people in the metro are packing up, moving out and leaving their animals behind.

It's a problem animal welfare sees every day. Earlier in the week, a dog bit a young boy while he was on his way to school. Animal welfare officials said the pet belonged to next door neighbors who moved out the day before and left their junk and pets behind.

"These cases come out a lot more often than we like them to," Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Officer John Alvarado said.

Officer Alvarado has seen his share abandoned animals.

"We get at least for the whole city, roughly ten a week," Officer Alvarado said.

Although the number is not as high compared to other cities in the country, it's still a prevalent problem. The shelter takes in about 30, 000 animals a year

"We see abandonments almost year in and year out. It's pretty consistent the number that we come in contact with," Rodney Pesch with Oklahoma City Animal Welfare said.

In some cases, the abandonments may be the result of the struggle with tough economic times.

"There's no excuse to leave your animals behind, economically driven, maybe one out of a hundred cases where people who honestly can't afford to take their animals with them," Pesch said.

In other cases, homeowners do come back to pick them up, or use pets to protect property.

Officials said if you can't afford to keep your pet, the animal shelter can take it in for free.