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Long IslandNassau

Rescue groups: Economy hurting pets on LI, too

A Maltese, left, and Pitbull mix were left

A Maltese, left, and Pitbull mix were left in front of a Huntington animal shelter with a note saying that the owner could not afford to take care of them. Photo Credit: Newsday File / James Carbone

For each of the past 11 years, the Little Shelter Animal Rescue & Adoption Center in Huntington has been able to find homes for about 30 cats and 30 dogs during its Pet-a-Palooza weekend. The center is hoping to double those numbers during its 12th annual educational event, which starts Saturday.

That's because the down economy has the center overstocked with adoptable pets, said spokeswoman Jodi Record. "This year we have about 90 dogs and 350 cats," she said. "Usually, we have about 50 dogs and 250 cats available for adoption."

As Newsday has previously reported, shelters across the country have reported an influx in the numbers of people giving up their pets due to the economy as they lose their jobs or lose their homes to foreclosure.

Many owners are abandoning pets because they can't afford to feed or care for them, Record said. In recent weeks, when Little Shelter has been closed, pets have been dropped over the shelter's barbed-wire fence during off hours.

Pam Green, executive director of the Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton, said her adoption numbers are about the same as previous years, but that's only because her facility limits the number of animals it accepts. "We just don't have the room," she said.

Green, who agreed that many shelters are being inundated with pets, said another reason for more abandoned animals is the increase in home foreclosures.

"I hear about more people relocating to apartments that don't allow pets," said Green, who has worked at Kent for 24 years.

Pet-A-Palooza is designed to inform prospective pet owners about the responsibilities of ownership, Record said. The two-day event - being held from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday -- also offers instruction on pet behavior, pet contests, entertainment and displays, and information from other animal rescue groups.

Dogs and cats eligible for adoption are subject to a fee - $110 for dogs older than 1 year; $160 for dogs younger than 1 year; and $100 for cats. The fee includes all shots, spaying or neutering, and a microchip procedure to help identify the pet if it's lost or stolen.

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