Local animal shelters seeing spike in animal returns

Published: Feb. 27, 2022 at 12:53 AM CST
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - Rising inflation and rent prices aren’t just affecting putting food on the table for Central Texas families, it’s also leaving a few with no other choice but to get rid of their pets.

Angelia Kulbusauskas is making one of the hardest decisions in her life, giving up her dog, Ladybug, for adoption.

“She’s my baby,” she said.

“I’ve had her since she was a puppy at six weeks old... She sleeps with me and she’s my partner. So, that’s gonna be hard to lose. My husband just passed away a few months ago and we have two other dogs together. I live in housing that only allows two dogs or I’ll get evicted.”

Kulbusauskas isn’t alone, because of the COVID pandemic, rising inflation and rent costs, many people are simply unable to take care of their animals.

Journey home rescue and Pearl’s Place in Killeen have reported a spike in animal returns in just the last three months. Meanwhile, the Humane Society of Central Texas in Waco says in six months, more than 2,000 dogs were brought to the shelter.

“We do get that quite a bit,” said Community & Brand Manager Mike Gray.

“I’ve been in those shoes before where you’re making minimum wage and taking care of a dog is tough. The last thing you want to do is give up your dog.”

“This year has been really hard for adoptions,” said Dorene Burlew of Journey Home and Pearl’s Place.

“There’s been a lot of people trying to rehome because of financial or moving obligations. I get at least two to three emails and calls a day from people who need to rehome or surrender their dogs.”

While both shelters are attempting to either adopt the dogs into new families or give struggling one’s extra food and medical care when they can, there’s no telling how many more dogs could come in next. As for Kulbusauskas, she’s simply hoping Ladybug can find a better home.

“As much as it hurts to have to let her go, I know if I could find her a home with somebody who has a yard and a place where she can run and play instead of being couped up in an apartment is very important.”

For more information on adopting an animal or making a donation, you can visit the Humane Society of Central Texas, Journey Home or Pearl’s Place websites.

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