TAMPA, Fla. — Staff at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay said they are seeing a big increase in people surrendering their pets. The shelter’s CEO Sherry Silk said they believe it’s because people are struggling with high rent prices, inflation and can’t afford to care for their pets.
“We’ve seen a tremendous increase to the point where some days we can’t even take animals in until we adopt some out to have the space,” said Silk.
Silk said previously the shelter would receive 15-20 surrendered pets a day. Now, they are getting around 50-60.
“The economy is hurting everyone including the animals here in Tampa Bay,” she said.
To try and help owners who are struggling, the Humane Society has a pet pantry that is open two days a week on Tuesdays and Saturdays. People can stop by to get free pet food and supplies for their animals.
Silk said it's heartbreaking to see owners who have no other choice but to surrender their pets.
“I mean most people feel like their pet is part of the family so it’s really sad to see,” she explained.
Over the last six weeks, Silk said there have been several people showing up to surrender their animals who are living out of their cars.
“It’s not just the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, other shelters are struggling with this across our area,” said Silk.
Along with their pet pantry, the Humane Society also offers free annual vaccine clinics in the community. They also have affordable vet care at their Animal Health Center.