Recession Hurting Animals Too

OSHTEMO TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Copper would shake your hand, speak and even toss you a high-five. A note taped to the mixed-breed’s collar attests to his talents, but these deeds are not verifiable by eyewitness account.

Copper, you see, is dead.

The 30-pound male dog, estimated to be about one-year-old by Kalamazoo County Animal Services and Enforcement officials, was found March 18 lying on the shoulder of an asphalt road in Oshtemo Township. There was a hole in his skull, inflicted when a car hit him.

It was too late to heed the message someone had written on the tape wrapped around his collar: ‘Help me.’”  Read the full story here.

Sadly this story is becoming more and more common, as people lose their homes and jobs, and find themselves unable to care for their animals. It’s hard to imagine leaving a pet on it’s own, especially when there are many other options. However, with the cost of proper care and food, it’s not too difficult to understand why a person may have to give up their pet when they are struggling to feed themselves and their family after a job loss. And sadly, a lot of apartment owners don’t allow pets, leaving few options for families affected by foreclosure.

Unfortunately, many of the people in these situations are making horrible choices in how they decide to deal with it, such as letting the animal out to fend for itself, or even just leaving the animal behind in an empty house. The stories are heartbreaking, especially knowing that there are other options.

If you find yourself in this position, please consider the following options:

  1. Talk with family members and friends about the situation. Someone you know and trust may be able to take your pet permanently, or until your situation improves.
  2. Call rescue groups in your area. You can find a complete list of rescues by checking and searching by zip code. Rescues are focused on finding homes for pets of all kinds, and are almost always no-kill. 
  3. Talk to your local Humane Society. They may be able to take your pet in, or even give you information about local resources you might not be aware of.
  4. Talk to your veterinarian. Our vet offers adoption services in their office, but even if your vet doesn’t, they are usually connected with rescues, and may even be aware of people who are looking to add an animal to the family.
  5. Take your pet to the local shelter. This may not be anyone’s first choice due to the possibility of it being put down, but it is a far better choice than leaving a pet in an empty home with little to no food and water (where it could starve to death if not found quickly), or letting it loose on the street.

If you are in a position to adopt a new member of the family, please consider doing so. With so many animals being turned over due to economic hardship, there are many amazing pets waiting at local shelters and rescues. If we all do a little to help each other during this time, hopefully there will be fewer stories like Copper’s.

Laura Leavell


Melissa Buchanan
Melissa Buchanan8 years ago

It's a sad day when a pet guardian would sooner let their pet starve and die than take them along. I think it's a cop-out. There are plenty of apartments out there that will accept a pet with a deposit. I could NEVER leave my pets on their own, no matter what the circumstance.

L Goldner
Lisa Goldner8 years ago

Wonderful organization enables elderly, disabled and terminally ill clients keep their beloved pets in the home. Visit:

Christine Jones
christine jones8 years ago

I will agree with throwing out an animal on the streets the day the owner can throw out a loved on the streets.

Who knows? May be there is such a human that would do such a thing to another human.

We live in a CRUEL, CRUEL world.

Shannon C.
Shannon C8 years ago


Reta Krukowski
Reta Krukowski8 years ago

It is sickening that people are so heartless. We lost are home due to lower wages and my husband having cancer and we had to move but our 4 animals came with us. If we had to live cheaper to make sure they were fed we would. Give up going out to eat or buying sweets or soda, coffee. I would give up something before they would end up starving and never would I leave a dog to defend theirselves. The world is so evil when you can leave a pet in a house to sit there day by day starving. They are no better than a murderer and they should be hunted down and put in jail. What in the hell is wrong with all these people. nothing but savages, subhuman. How can they do that. I can see when someone can't afford medicine because a lot of people can't but please if you are so poor, you can't feed your animal, at least turn it in to someone.

Kimberly Crane
Kimberly Crane8 years ago

we found a red heeler living in the bushes for 5 days no-one would come we finally earned her trust and fostered her she is only 1 yr and a beautiful animal ! we think banks, government ( samething) put her to the curb!! our dogs go where we go if welive in our car? so do they! if we live in a tent? so do they If we hunt our food, grow it live in amansion? so do they !!!

Ingrid Housego
Ingrid Housego8 years ago

I would do without all perks and much of my food to save my little yorkie. I would NEVER give him away or let alone abandone him.

Laura Hernandez
LORII H8 years ago

animals are part of the family we go all together

Donna W.
Donna W8 years ago

I will go without food, if necessary, to keep our little Yorkie, or even a neighbor's small animal.

Laura Mcgowan
Laura Mcgowan8 years ago

I live alone, work a full-time job and have 14 cats in my small home. They are all well-cared-for & happy. I also feed 2 ferals outside and about 5 ferals (I have spayed 1 so far) at a shopping center near my home. I do without so they can live. There is no excuse for anyone to abandon or "free" a pet because of financial hardship. Their pets DO NOT deserve such callous neglect/cruelty. Thank goodness for people like me willing to sacrifice & find alternatives to such a horrible world. I only wish I could do more...