30% was how much dog adoptions increased at the Santa Fe Animal Shelter in summer 2009 over 2008
"We were found scavenging for what little food and attention we could find on the outskirts of Gallup. While we have been taken care of and have tried to put on as much weight as we could (we were so skinny!!!) for the last month, our family can no longer afford us."
—Santa Fe Craigslist ad attributed to two puppies named Lily and Marshall, who are expected to grow to 70 pounds
Here’s the truth about cats, dogs and the economy.
First, the good news. The number of owners surrendering their pets to the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society has leveled this summer, following a surge last year that coincided with the economic collapse. According to the shelter, dog adoptions were up over the summer and cat adoptions are holding steady.
Now, the bad news. The shelter hasn’t seen its own finances rebound.
According to Director of Communications Bill Hutchinson, the shelter is $30,000 short each month in donations. In August, the shelter laid off 10 percent of its staff (six employees), while managers and directors all took 10 percent pay cuts.
“We’re running a lot leaner and people are tending to double up on jobs,” Hutchinson says. “It’s been exhausting, but inspiring, to see everybody run and try to pick up the slack.”
The shelter operates with a contract through the Santa Fe Police Department’s Animal Services Division, which is also struggling with budget shortfalls. So far this has only affected purchases, not services.
“We’ve still got six officers working 365 days a year and no furloughs,” Animal Services Manager Patrick Alano says. “I hope that trend continues and the gross receipts tax [proceeds] come up.”
Beverly Antaeus, executive director (“chief pooper scooper”) for Bridging the Worlds animal sanctuary, a no-kill shelter in Santa Fe, says she’s “amazed” to hear reports that adoptions are up at SFASHS.
Pet adoptions for her organization “have tanked,” Antaeus says. “We’re getting hardly inquiries at all about pets on our website [bridgingtheworlds.org], whereas that used to be 75 percent of our adoptions.”
And owners are still desperate to get rid of their animals.
“My impression is it is mostly about the economy,” Antaeus says. “People are moving for jobs, people are moving in with their parents, or they can’t adopt after all because they can’t afford a house and have to stay in their apartment.”