Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Downturn sends more pets to Hernando animal shelter

SPRING HILL — The relentless assault on the economic stability of local families that has cost people their jobs, and in many cases their homes, is also forcing them to cut loose what some consider family members.

"We are seeing a lot more people who can't afford their pets. They've lost their homes and where they move doesn't always take animals,'' said Liana Teague, director of Animal Services of Hernando County. "There certainly is no shortage of pets coming in and I definitely think the economy is a factor."

This growing trend has brought tears to the eyes of Joanne Schoch, director of the Humane Society of Hernando County, which has had numerous families dropping off animals recently. "People shouldn't have to give up their pets," she said. "They're family."

The no-kill shelter is caring for 60 cats and 18 dogs, she said. "We turn an average of five to seven people away per day. It's absolutely horrendous. The impact it has on families is demoralizing."

The Humane Society will try to help such families in need with its Fur Fest 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Lake House on Kenlake Drive in Spring Hill.

While admission is free, attendees are asked to bring a bag of dog food or cat food, which will be distributed to pet owners in need at the shelter at 7224 Mobley Road, Brooksville.

The pet food also will be given away to such charities as Salvation Army, Day Star and St. Vincent DePaul Thrift Shop for further disbursement to families.

"We're trying to keep as many pets in their homes as possible," said Schoch. "We've already served 1,500 residents. But with pet food, now we're out."

Schoch said the Humane Society tries to talk a family into keeping their pet at least until the agency can either take it in or find it a new home. Through its affiliation with Petco for cat adoptions on Saturdays, the group has been able to place many felines in new homes.

The SPCA of Hernando County is also inundated. "We get calls every day on cats and dogs, some of them left at the gate, abandoned,'' said Aline Berry, a member of the SPCA's board of directors.

"I think this is the toughest time we've ever had," she added.

As for current adoptions, Berry said, "The turnover in dogs is pretty good, but as soon as one leaves we get another one in.''

At Animal Services, Teague says the adoption rate is "slow," but added that it's seasonal, more pets adopted in summer when children are out of school. "So, I don't know that can be directly attributed to the economy."

Although Animal Services forwards what it deems adoptable pets to the other pet agencies, it euthanizes pets with irreparable habits or major health issues.

At last week's end, the SPCA had a full population of 26 dogs and a cat shelter "at capacity." Animal Services peaked a day last week at 24 cats and 79 dogs. On Monday it was down to 34 dogs, five cats, two goats and a ferret.

The lower numbers, Teague noted, were due to euthanasia.

In the past, if owners brought in pets due to their irascible behavior, Teague said the agency would urge them to try obedience classes or a trainer. "But now, they can't afford that," she noted.

Beth Gray can be contacted at


Pet event

The Humane Society's Fur Fest is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lake House on Kenlake Drive in Spring Hill. The free event has:

• lure chase and dog trials, novices welcome;

• vendors of pet products;

• dog costume contest;

• pet-owner look-alike contest;

• professional dog competition demonstration;

• demonstration of a Stillwater Dog Training Class of a Humane Society canine;

• pets available for adoption.

Downturn sends more pets to Hernando animal shelter 11/05/08 [Last modified: Friday, November 7, 2008 12:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)


    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.