Pet owners making hard choices due to inflation

Pet owners making hard choices due to inflation
Published: Apr. 7, 2023 at 4:21 PM MST|Updated: Apr. 7, 2023 at 5:47 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Inflation and economic uncertainty is weighing heavy on pet owners and putting a strain on animal welfare organizations.

A recent study shows 50% of pet owners have been forced to buy cheaper pet food, 46% have delayed veterinary treatment, and 24% have considered rehoming or surrendering their pet as a result of inflation.

A Southern Arizona animal shelter is helping pick up the slack.

Volunteers with The Animal League of Green Valley are seeing signs of economic hardship firsthand: a spike in surrendered and abandoned pets, many with medical conditions.

“People are having to let their animals go because strays are coming in and they’re not being claimed. Which is not the norm. Especially in Green Valley,” said Kim Eisele, president of The Animal League of Green Valley.

Eisele has been with the organization for 14 years.

”A couple months ago, a gentleman adopted a dog from us. He lived in Tucson. He literally couldn’t afford to feed his dog anymore. In fact, he couldn’t even afford gas to bring the dog back to us,” said Eisele. “We went and picked up the dog. It was heartbreaking.”

Eisele says when people are struggling to care for their pets, TALGV can be a lifeline. Joel Taylor knows from experience.

“Henry is my baby. I have four cats. But he is my baby. He’s a one-man cat,” said Taylor.

Taylor, who was recently diagnosed with cancer, says when his 9-year-old cat Henry fell ill, he didn’t have the money to see a veterinarian. Taylor called the animal league’s outreach program for help.

“Those tests, I could never have afforded. If it hadn’t been for them, I would have lost this cat,” said Taylor.

Turns out, TALGV covered all of Henry’s vet bills and his follow up care, including special food.

“I probably would have had to have him euthanized. If I couldn’t have gotten him to a vet. He was suffering,” said Taylor. “They saved my pet’s life. And saved me a whole lot of pain along the way.”

The shelter, its outreach program, and pet food pantry rely 100% on community donations. Volunteers also run The Attic Thrift Store that’s on site.

Eisele says, annually it costs more than a million dollars to run the organization. The focus is on keeping families together and on pet adoptions.

“These animals need homes, and they deserve homes. They’re really good dogs and cats,” said Eisele.

The shelter also helps with post-adoption support including dental and veterinary care when needed. Right now, the shelter is short on donations and volunteers. For more information on how to get involved click here.

To watch more of the interview from this story, click here: