Economy rough on Rover

Numerous dogs are kept beind a fence at an animal shelter.
Susan Babbitt is doing everything she can to help homeless animals—but she can’t do it alone.

Babbitt, who founded the nonprofit organization Friends of the Collinsville Animal Shelter has seen a steady decline in donations since the economy has taken a downward spiral.

“People who’ve been able to give me several thousand (dollars) can give me $500 now,” she told Tulsa World.

Babbitt told the news provider that when people lose their homes and jobs, their pets often suffer repercussions.

“They can’t afford to take care of their dogs and cats,” she told the news source. “They are bringing them to us as a surrender. At a certain point, you only have a certain amount of money and you can only do so much.”

Babbitt told Tulsa World that even people who have had their animals for years have brought their pets to her.

“In some places, the dogs they are leaving are just beautiful, registered, pedigreed dogs that they cannot afford to take care of anymore, or they are having to go to an apartment where they aren’t allowed to have a dog,” she told the news provider.

Babbitt told the news source that her organization has saved more than 400 pets.

“It’s just unbelievably intense with pets right now. I’m just pedaling as fast as I can to bring in different money.”

Jamie Suarez, the president and founder of Oklahoma Alliance for Animals told the news provider that shelters and rescue groups are “inundated with animals right now because of the economic climate.”

“It’s everybody and they are starting to feel it,” Suarez told Tulsa World of the economy. “Probably a lot of groups are starting to get discouraged. I hope they don’t.”

According to Business Week, Americans spent around $41 billion a year on their pets in 2007. Now, most families who are feeling the effects of the economy are sometimes unable to even feed them.

“It’s real difficult for them right now,” Suarez told the news provider. “It’s the times. I hear it from everybody I talk to.”


  • Gail Reilly

    Seeing so many animals surrendered as a result of the economy is a tragedy – and a symptom of a problem for companion animals. They remain disposable, even as “family”. More public education is needed – for families to grasp the commitment to adopting an animal and making their care a prioirity; and for the community-at-large to recognize the value of allowing animals in rental units with responsible families. Individuals also need to set aside a few dollars a week from the time they adopt an animals so that they can be prepared for emergencies or losing a job, too. It is a matter of priorities – of brown-bagging lunch sometimes to have a savings account for one’s animals. I have always had a savings plan for my animals – like their insurance, it is a safety net that only I can provide for them.

    • hrush

      A savings account may work well for pets’ annual or routine care expenses, however a savings account may not be a good alternative for more-costly surgeries, extreme illnesses or reoccuring conditions. The reason pet insurance is a better alternative is that a pet may require a major surgery or contract a serious illness before the owner has saved enough money (in their savings account) to cover those costs. The limitation of a savings account is that there’s the inability to access any more money than what has been saved to that date. Pet insurance gives pet owners the ability to budget for their pet’s health care, and gives them peace of mind in knowing they’re going to be financially prepared should their pet become ill or injured.


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