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Monday, July 9, 2012 - 2:00am

Pet Surrenders Spike

Updated: 2 years ago.
The Humane Society of Greater Savannah had 31 dogs brought in to them a few weeks ago. This is Boss, a graduate of Operation New Hope, a partnership between the Chatham County Sheriff's Office and the Humane Society. He was available for adoption at the time of this story. (Photo Greater Savannah Humane Society)

Animal welfare agencies say, they're seeing a spike in the number of pet owners giving up dogs and cats.

They're blaming their full shelters on the economy.

Officials at the Greater Savannah Humane Society say, pet owners surrendered an unprecedented 31 pets in a single day a few weeks ago.

Kennels are at capacity and the shelter is getting an unusually high number of dogs.

Society director Lynn Gensamer says, while summer months typically bring an influx of unwanted pets, this year people are bringing in more dogs and cats that haven't seen a vet.

"We've seen much higher incidents of heart worm in dogs surrendered to us than we ordinarily see and we think that's a sign of people cutting back," she says. "They stop heart worm prevention."

Gensamer says, she believes the surrenders are related to the area's 8.4% percent jobless rate.

"People lose their home. They lose their job. They move to an apartment. Unfortunately many apartments have an additional pet deposit and of course if you're moving and have cash flow problems it may be very difficult to come up with an additional $500 pet deposit," Gensamer says.

Gensamer says, her organization doesn't turn any pet away.