H-CENTRAL COAST

Sep 15, 2011 9:18 PM by Kelly Orsini, KSBY News

Local animal shelters are full

Local animal shelters are trying to get the word out-- the effects of the recession have left them packed.

Thousands of cats and dogs are put down every year on the Central Coast, and those tough decisions continue.

Eric Anderson, Animal Services Manager for San Luis Obispo County, says the county's shelter is full to capacity.

"Over the last several years or even couple of months we've been seeing a steady increase in the number of animals turned in and parallel to that, a decrease in the number of adoptions," Anderson said.

At the San Luis Obispo County shelter, 54 animals have been put down this month. Anderson says that's actually down by about 30 from the same period last year, reflecting the slow improvement of our economy.

"While we're very full and really trying to accommodate a space crunch, we actually are doing better this year in terms of the animals we're able to care for," Anderson said.

In Santa Barbara County, all three shelters are overcrowded. A committee decides which animals will be put down based on set criteria, according to Community Outreach Coordinator, Stacy Silva.

"The criteria we look at for having to make euthanasia decisions is based on several factors: the animal's sociability level with humans, the animal doesn't have any severe possession over food, treats, toys, do we have the resources to work with behavioral issues the animal may have, or is it just outright aggressive," Silva said.

The shelters says it's up to residents to get their pets spayed or neutered and microchipped, because not just pets, but also pet owners need help coping with the effects of our recession.

"To have that animal at your house, when you come home from a long day's work or you're just really tired, to have that never-ending love sitting there looking at you, wagging its tail, somebody that's always happy to see you, is a wonderful thing to have a part of your life," Silva said.

The number of animals being euthanized was up slightly in Santa Barbara County from June 2010 to this past June, with nearly 1,800 cats and dogs put down.

San Luis Obispo County tracks by calendar year. More than 1,200 animals were put down in 2010. So far this year, that number is at 522.

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