More than 1.5 million fewer homes are owning pets. That's according to a five year survey from the American Veterinarian Medical Association. Our Andrew Sorensen tells us why some industry professionals are relying the economy to turn that trend around.
ROME, N.Y.-- It's no secret pet lovers can be picky about their animals. But a new survey from the American Veterinarian Medical Association says they're getting pickier.
"It used to be animals would kind of fly out the door and we didn't have to put a lot of effort into getting adoptions. We're working twice as hard, we're everywhere," Humane Society of Rome Volunteer Coordinator Emily Doucet said.
Over the last five years, pet ownership has dropped 2.4 percent across the nation and it's showing up in hard hit shelters like the Humane Society of Rome.
"We're getting calls from Syracuse, we're getting calls from Utica, Boonville, Old Forge, everywhere, begging us to take their animals. So I think that shelters everywhere in the area are full," Doucet said.
Industry professionals like Dr. Tom Rothwell of the Paris Hill Cat Hospital say the trend is partly because pets are becoming more expensive.
"Everything that we have here, everything that we need here and use here to care for your cat comes via a UPS truck," he said.
Dr. Rothwell says rising fuel and health care costs are exacerbating the billion dollar rise in the cost of pet products expected by the American Pet Products Association.
"These items are priced up so we obviously have to charge more to the client for them," he explained.
But the decrease in purchases isn't hitting all pets equally. The AMVA said most consumers are like Jesse Larson, who is dog shopping, and looking for dogs more than cats.
He said he's looking specifically for a dog, "Because they're happier to see you when they come home and they show their love more than a cat does."
One of the types of cats shelters say they have the hardest problem getting people to adopt is black cats like this little kitten, Benny.
"Some people are still superstitious and some people think, well I don't want black fur all over my clothing and my furniture, but you know, a white cat or an orange cat sheds too," Doucet said.
The problem is so bad, some shelters, including Humane Society of Rome, have recently tried out "Black Cat Appreciation Days" to spur adoption. But they say the only solutions to their problems will be an economic upturn and for people to spay and neuter their pets.
You can adopt some of these cats at either the Humane Society of Rome or Paris Hill Cat Hospital.