Pet owners are forced to make tough choices in the face of rising costs

The Stockton Animal Shelter sees 15-20 abandoned dogs every day as families in many cases can no longer afford their animals.

STOCKTON, Calif. — With inflation skyrocketing gas, food and shelter, the cost of caring for a pet is no different.

According to a report by petfoodindustry.com, dog and cat food manufacturing jumped almost 9% in March. This is the largest year-on-year increase since 2009, with costs being passed on to pet owners.

The situation has gotten bad enough that it’s no longer just neglected cats and dogs being dropped off at the Stockton Animal Shelter, but animal families can no longer afford it.

“We are seeing an increase in strays who seem to be very well cared for, well fed, with nice coats, clearly owned dogs,” said Meghan Ramczyk, manager of Stockton Animal Shelter.

For the third day in a row, Ramon Villanueva was hoping to get help for his three-month-old dog “Babies” at the Stockton Animal Shelter. The seasonal forklift driver does not have the money to take care of his dog alone.

“We want to sterilize him, but we can’t afford that and injections and all that – we can’t afford that either,” Villanueva said.

Just as “Babies” has its own story, the animals in the shelter also have theirs.

On Wednesday morning, a kitten was found abandoned outside the shelter and an older cat was abandoned after the recent death of its elderly owner.

“They may have recently moved, maybe they have recently become homeless. Sometimes their fence is down and they can’t afford to fix the fence,” Ramczyk said.

Martha Moreno has been raising kittens for almost 20 years. She stopped at the shelter to pick up more kittens to take home.

“It’s exploding again, and see, it’s only the first of June,” Moreno said.

The main thing is that the animal shelter is at full capacity and dogs like “Babies” could, in the end, be refused.

Adoption fees, which include neutering or neutering, injections, microchipping and more, are waived at Stockton Animal Shelter. There is also a “Pet Pantry” at the Stockton Animal Shelter. Free dog and cat food is distributed while supplies last every second and fourth Tuesday of the month.

It’s 9-11 a.m. in the shelter parking lot at 1575 S. Lincoln Street.

At the Front Street Shelter in Sacramento, they currently have an adoption special. You can adopt a dog over six months old for just $25 and an adult cat over six months old for just $5.

For more information, visit the Sacramento Animal Services website and the Stockton Animal Shelter website.

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