These days, it seems as if every aspect of our lives has been touched in some way by the recent economic downturn, and that includes our pets. The economy has increased the number of animals that end up in shelters and has decreased the amount of money that families can spend on vet care. In New York, the economy is now affecting missing pets.
In the last two years, the number of animals taken in by New York City’s Center for Animal Care and Control (CACC) has steadily gone up, while the group’s budget has been slashed by $1.5 million.
With more than 40,000 intakes last year, the CACC, which is responsible for the city’s municipal shelter system, has been pressured to reduce operating costs. Their latest cutback is to the call center, which handles inquiries regarding missing pets.
In the past, New Yorkers could call the CACC to have city workers search the three main shelters for lost pets. This service is crucial considering stray dogs and cats only have a couple of days to be identified. Legally, unclaimed animals can be euthanized in as little as 48 hours.
Now, New Yorkers must visit all three shelters in three different boroughs to search for their furry loved ones. They can also check the CACC website, which is updated regularly, but not all of the dogs listed have photos. And nothing can replace having a live person who works in the shelter help search for a missing pet.
It’s certainly unfortunate that the CACC’s budget was cut, but today’s reality is that everyone is facing severe budget constraints.
At this point, the best thing to do is to prepare as much as we can to help our pets get back to us in the event that they become lost. It’s important to make sure your pet is wearing a collar and identification tags, and is microchipped for added security. While the CACC is no longer allowed to take lost animal calls, they will take every measure possible to reunite animals with identification.
The CACC website also has a resource page on finding a lost pet and provides tips on how to systematically search their facilities to check if your furry family member is there.