MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Memphis Animal Services says rising gas prices and inflation are forcing more and more people to give up their pets, and that’s resulted in a record number of dogs in their care.
The problem is so bad right now the shelter has been forced to double up dogs in some kennels.
“Evictions are starting to happen,” said MAS director Alexis Pugh. “We are seeing pets being displaced from their homes, pets potentially being turned loose by people that we are picking up running at large.”
Pugh said they also see fewer people willing to commit to adoption or even foster because they don’t know what the future holds.
“We hear people say I would love to adopt but with gas prices, and I’m having trouble paying my own bills, feeding my family, I can’t take on another living creature in my household right now,” she said.
Pugh said they traditionally have more animals during the summer months. Right now, MAS has around 300 dogs in their shelter and 78 dogs and 238 cats in foster homes.
Tuesday, they asked the public to help them put 30 dogs in foster care within three days. Pugh said it could save a life.
“If someone came in today and grabbed one of the dogs going on our transport next Friday, you could literally hold on to a dog for ten days and free up a kennel for us here and a facility for another pet,” Pugh said.
Pugh said they’ve already gotten a good response with some rescue groups and pet lovers showing up at the shelter offering to foster, but it’s only put a dent in their pet population.
“For every dog that left today, we have another one coming in with our officers in the back,” said Pugh “We are going to need this sustained turnout over the next few days and the next several weeks, really.”
MAS said if a pet owner is having trouble caring for their pet due to their finances, they can turn to their Pet Resource Center for help. The shelter said their number one request is for food and this year they are on track to service around 5,000 families in the community.
“We are providing pet food to people every single day. We’ll provide free spay and neuter, we’ll provide dog houses, we’ll provide medical care,” Pugh said, “We’ll even pay your pet deposit if that means a pet you love can stay with you instead of coming here to the shelter.”
If you would like to help the Pet Resource Center MAS has set up an Amazon Wish List. You can also donate on the shelter’s website.
The shelter is open seven days a week from noon to 4 p.m. All adoptions are just $25 through the end of July.