HURON COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) – Inflation and the rising cost of living is now impacting animal shelters because owners can no longer afford their pets.

“It’s just getting out of control and we’re fearing it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets any better,” said Humane Officer Daphne Nelson with the Huron County Humane Society.

Staff members and volunteers are working overtime and every cage and kennel is full at the shelter located at 246 Woodlawn Ave. in Norwalk.

For every dog or cat that’s rehabilitated and adopted, they say three more are waiting in the wings.

Whether it’s from the pandemic or inflation, Nelson says an alarming number of people suddenly either can’t or won’t care for their pets.

“There’s abuse, there’s neglect, there’s abandonment,” said Nelson.

Some of the animals were rescued as part of an abuse investigation and others surrendered because their owners could no longer afford veterinary care, including two beautiful but emaciated Great Pyrenees pups.

“It takes an emotional toll on all of us because we’re all pet owners and can’t fathom how someone could leave them in that condition. It’s just heartbreaking,” said assistant director Tracy Koch.

Several horses have also had to be rescued and placed in sanctuaries. There is serious concern over what could happen this winter.

”With hay skyrocketing, with grain skyrocketing, with no pasture to graze, we’re fearful we’re going to get a lot more horse calls because people won’t be able to feed them over the winter time,” said Nelson.

She says other shelters they work with are experiencing the same problems and are also beyond capacity.

“It’s not only us, it’s everyone. It’s all rescues, all humane societies, it’s all APLs and dog wardens. It’s everybody,” said Nelson.

Huron County Humane Society usually offers a “blessing box” with food for struggling owners so they can keep their pets, but that’s also running low.

Nelson is encouraging people to donate to their local shelters and anyone interested in helping them can do so online through their website, and Amazon or Chewy.com.

All donations are tax deductible.

Firelands Community Cat Coalition, also a 501C3 charity, has begun helping too with rescues and offering spaying and neutering cats for free.

“We recognized a need to get strays fixed. There’s an over population with cats being born outside and suffering, so we started TNR trap neuter release,” said Erin Lydy.  

For more information, go here