Local animal shelter receives dozens of dogs owners can’t care for

SPOKANE, Wash. — The housing crisis in Spokane is not only leaving people struggling to find a place to live, it’s separating best friends. As people move to find affordable housing, they’re sometimes faced with a difficult choice. What happens with the dog?

Dozens of dogs are being dropped off at one local animal shelter because their owners are no longer able to care for them.

It’s a problem the shelter says it hasn’t seen in years.

There was a time when animals at shelters were surrendered after owners couldn’t handle them during COVID-19 lockdown, but now the housing crisis has forced some dog owners to make a difficult decision.

“It’s absolutely heartbreaking. We hear some really really sad stories and some really really sad people giving up their animals,” said Dori Peck, executive director of SpokAnimal.

While it’s gut-wrenching to see so many dogs surrendered back to the shelter, Peck says this doesn’t come as a surprise.

“As far as selling the homes as well as price houses increased so much, you know the landlords are selling their homes, they’re worth a lot of money. So we’ve been watching this and knowing it’s coming,” Peck said.

In the past few months, Peck says they have seen between 30 and 40 dogs surrendered back to them. Right now, all of their kennels are full, and many of the stories have a similar tune; someone being evicted with nowhere to go.

“We had a gentlemen, he had been evicted from the home he had been renting for like five or six years, he was living in his car. Too hot for his dog in his car. So he ended up having to bring her in here to us because he had to go to work during the day, couldn’t leave her in the car,” Peck said.

Shelters like SpokAnimal will provide spay and neutering surgery to pets so people can rent in housing that requires those rules.

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