Reno County pet owners can’t care for animals because of inflation

Due to inflation, the increased expense of caring for a pet is causing many families to have to relinquish their dogs and cats when they reach the point of no longer being able to afford keeping their animals healthy and well-fed. According to the director of the Hutchinson Animal Shelter, […]

Due to inflation, the increased expense of caring for a pet is causing many families to have to relinquish their dogs and cats when they reach the point of no longer being able to afford keeping their animals healthy and well-fed.

According to the director of the Hutchinson Animal Shelter, Michaela Schommer, the level of pet populations in animal shelters has increased in the last year by 7% nationally, and they are seeing the same upward trend in Reno County.

In Hutchinson, the rate of pet adoptions from the shelter has averaged about the same as last year, but with the higher number of intakes, that still results in a greater number of animals in need of homes.“We’ve taken in eight cats today,” said Schommer.

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While the number of intakes and adoptions fluctuates every day, the shelter used to operate with some flex space of 10-15 open dog kennels — but now those are usually full. The problem is compounded because overpopulation is not a localized issue; other shelters are experiencing the same type of influx.

“We try to transfer [when our space is filled], but everyone is in the same boat,” Schommer said.

Samantha Belt and Leo getting ready to go home from the Hutchinson Animal Shelter.

Increased costs of pet care

Schommer said the main reason people provide when giving up their pets is they just can’t afford veterinarian and food bills anymore. She estimated that annual food costs for a single dog can range from $1,000 to $5,000, and veterinarian bills for a healthy dog can add about $200. Cats are not as expensive, yet their bills can add up quickly as well.To help offset some of these costs, the Hutchinson Animal Shelter operates a dog- and cat-food bank, available to owners in need on a temporary basis. Often three or four families a day stop by for pet food assistance.

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