APF shelter gets creative

As people lose jobs, relocate, refinance and re-prioritize, sometimes pets are left behind. The Animal Protective Foundation in Scotia has been taking in more animals over the past year, as a direct result of the poor economy. Because of the number of pets looking for homes, the APF has had to come up with news ways to find arrangements for displaced pets permanent or temporary.

With that need in mind, the Scotia-based shelter recently held a Thrifty Kitty and Bargain Hound Garage Sale, which offered pet merchandise at prices close to 50 percent off.

Marguerite Pearson of the APF said the sale benefited both the shelter and those families that may be struggling to support their pets.

People are definitely looking to pinch pennies and for bargains. We are grateful to the many people who supported it, either by donating or purchasing," said Pearson.

The APF has also started a section of the Web site, www.animalprotective.org, to help struggling pet owners learn about options other than bringing their pets to shelters. Information on the site includes listings of pet-friendly rentals for those who may be moving out of their homes, reduced-cost spaying and neutering options, assistance for domestic violence victims and local rabies clinics.

The APF has also partnered with the Schenectady City Mission, which has agreed to dispense pet food and cat litter supplies to those who have demonstrated hardship and whose only other option is to surrender their pet.

Elizabeth Chamberlain of the City Mission said she often sees struggling people worried about feeding their pets, which are a part of the family to many people.

"We want people to know they have an option, we are here working with the APF to try and help people to keep their pets and avoid surrendering them," said Chamberlain.

Pearson said they are unable to raise as much money through fundraising and community support because there are so many other areas of need that are in even greater demand, such as food pantries.

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