Pet shelters also suffering from real estate downturn

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As the unemployment rate soars and pet owners lose their jobs many are forced to give up their furry companions to the many animal rescues and shelters across the country. The rescue organizations, which are primarily donation based, have been hard hit by the real estate downturn, especially in states like Florida, California, Nevada and Arizona. At these institutions the bills are piling up while funds are quickly drying up, leaving many shelters without electricity or water. Since the start of the recession, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates that one million to two million pets have been abandoned because owners can no longer afford to take care of them. Donations are also down 40 percent at one basset-hound rescue in California and volunteers have had to quit or take a second or third job to pay bills that keep going up. “At pet food banks, they are seeing people who used to be donors now showing up asking if they can get a bag of dog food,” said Stephen Zawistowski, ASPCA executive vice president.

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