BRADENTON, Fla. - Skyrocketing rent prices and pet care costs are driving pet owners to surrender their animals at alarming rates, particularly older pets with chronic health conditions their owners can no longer afford to treat.
Nate's Honor Animal Rescue is a no-kill shelter based in Bradenton. The shelter posted to its social media accounts on Thursday, sharing a screenshot of an activity log that showed half a dozen pets surrendered in less than seven hours one day this week.
The nonprofit captioned the post by saying:
"Please no judgment or negative comments, but this is the reality for shelters everywhere right now. This was just yesterday afternoon. There are times when there is no other option, but unless you have no other choice, please do everything you can to keep your pet in your home right now. Shelters are FULL! If you are looking to add a new family member, please consider adopting to help make space. If you need assistance feeding your pet, please visit our website and submit a request to our food bank."
Certified veterinary technician Karissa Mayer spoke with FOX 13 News about the issue, saying a change in housing is one of the most common reasons for someone to reach out to the shelter about surrendering their animal.
"They were someplace that was affordable and pet-friendly, and now the rent market has just gotten crazy," Mayer said, "And their options are so much more limited, and they can’t necessarily find pet-friendly housing in their price range."
When a housing change is combined with a behavioral issue, things get even more complicated. For example, when a pet owner is living alone and adopts a pet but neglects to train it.
"If your housing situation has now turned into, you have to move in with family or friends, that behavior issue may cause them to have to surrender that animal," Mayer said.
Nate's Honor Animal Rescue transfers pets in from other county facilities when they fill up, giving priority to animals that are most at risk of being euthanized at another shelter.
Mayer says the overcrowding is a phenomenon being experienced at shelters across the U.S., but that "In pockets like ours, it’s hard because we want to save as many as we can. The longer an animal stays in a kennel, for every day that an animal is in that kennel, another animal dies somewhere else."
Meanwhile, Manatee County is getting ready to hold a large-scale adoption event on Saturday. It's one of several events happening over the weekend aimed at relieving shelters, making space, and hopefully saving animal lives.