It looks like the economy is making pet owners re-home their furry family members due to rising living costs.
Recent data from the American Pet Products Association (APPA) trade group found that 35% of pet owners said they were concerned about the expense of having a pet in the current economy, with half of them sharing they may have to give up their pet.
“When the economy is struggling, families are struggling,” said Lindsay Hamrick, director of shelter outreach and engagement at the Humane Society of the United States said in a Washington Post reported. “That shows up as surrenders.”
According to the AAPA report, an additional 14 percent of pet parents said they could no longer afford to keep their pet, while 12 percent said their pet was re-homed. Another 9 percent said they could no longer take care of their pet for a variety of reasons as reported by the Washington Post.
“This is unprecedented,” Hamrick said to the Outlet. “It’s not the students who are moving and leaving their animals. … It’s people who were losing their jobs or losing their apartments, or maybe they didn’t set aside enough time to figure out what they were going to do with their cats when they moved.”
The current U.S. inflation rate is 6.5%, the lowest it’s been since the period October 2021. This is still extremely high and is driving the soaring food and gas prices many Americans are currently struggling with. Pet supplies are no exception.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, average annual household spending on pets increased from $460 in 2013 to $770 in 2021 the Washington Post reports.
“We are seeing more and more people coming to the shelter to surrender because of evictions … or no longer being able to afford it,” said Michele Anderson told the Washington Post. She is a rep from an El Paso, Texas area pet shelter. “Sometimes they can’t afford food or they’re having to make a tough decision between feeding their human children versus feeding their pets.”