For pet or worse
Many were simply abandoned, left in empty apartments after the tenants had been evicted. But in other cases – one or two a month – it was clear they had been surrendered for financial reasons, their owners unable to pay for food or veterinary bills, says Ruby Richards, manager of the Humane Society of Durham Region in Oshawa, a region hard hit by the manufacturing sector's steady decline.
With the added squeeze of the recession, more Durham residents are giving up pets to cut costs, Richards said. "We get calls from people who have lost their job, who are moving in with relatives and can't take their pets with them."
In the new year alone, economic troubles have led people to surrender 10 animals to Oshawa's temporary shelter on Taunton Rd., which was set up after a fire ravaged the original shelter mid-December. The building houses rescued cats, but most dogs go to foster homes.
"There's been quite an increase in the past two months," said Richards, who suspects it is only the beginning. "When times are tough, animals are the first thing to go."
They also keep people safe. By that I mean, if I hadn't had dogs since I bought my house, I wouldn't know my neighbours and they would never notice if I was up and around, alive or dead. Neighbours call if they don't see me out walking the dog.
This is an unspeakable tragedy, one we have been seeing in the US where people whose homes have been foreclosed are abandoning animals to starve. I'll spare you the gruesome stories.
Better yet, give a critter a forever home.
P.S. The photos are of my Jericho, before and after I adopted him last January.