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Left out in the storm

Stormy weather and a dreary economy have impacts on animal shelters

This kitten was found in the midst of Tropical Storm Irene and turned over to the Scotia Animal Protective Foundation, which was able to reunite the pet with its owners. Some animal shelters were adversely impacted by the storm, and all are weathering a poor economy.

This kitten was found in the midst of Tropical Storm Irene and turned over to the Scotia Animal Protective Foundation, which was able to reunite the pet with its owners. Some animal shelters were adversely impacted by the storm, and all are weathering a poor economy. Submitted photo

— The Mohawk-Hudson Human Society’s Menands shelter is now housing about 510 animals. A poor economy also means that while abandonments are up, donations are down for this not-for-profit, and with the average cost of turning around an animal for adoption (vaccines, veterinary expenses, food and housing) running between $200 and $250, the shelter takes a bath on every adoption.

The Saratoga County Animal Shelter saw only one dog and one cat come in because of the recent storms, and both were only temporarily housed. At the same time, the shelter still has a high population, in part because of the time of year (kittens are born in the fall) and also because of the economy.

“We are seeing more come in with major medical issues and problems that people cant’s afford,” said Shelter Supervisor Daniel Butler. “The cost of pet care today is right up there.”

Owners will either turn their sick animals over to the shelter or simply let them loose in the streets (which is illegal). When it comes to sick animals, many times the shelter has not choice but to put them down, Butler said.

The Saratoga Animal Shelter has 59 dogs and 264 cats looking for homes. Butler reminded pet owners that pets should always be spayed or neutered.

There are some shelters out of the Capital District that are in even worse shape. The Scotia Animal Protective Foundation was not heavily impacted by the storm, but has collected and dispersed about 8,000 pounds of food and other supplies to shelters in Schoharie and Rotterdam Junction, for example, and another shipment was recently sent to the Aslan’s Cats shelter in Catskill, which apparently had run completely out of food.

The generosity of donors has been remarkable, said AFP spokeswoman Marguerite Pearson.

“I think animal lovers can really identify with the tragedy of possibly being separated from their animals,” she said.

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