"Local animal rescue organizations that rely on private donations are grappling with an unprecedented increase in abandoned animals and a steep drop in private donations.
The Santa Cruz Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which adopts out 100-120 animals per month and runs entirely on private donations, has received about half of its normal cash donations and about 75 percent less in animal food donations. Hummer Ranch Pregnant Mare Rescue, which houses horses at a small Aptos ranch until they can be adopted, has run out of cash. And, Project Purr, which spays and neuters feral cats, may not have enough money to stay open until its next fundraiser in May.
"Donations are down at least 65 percent," said Lisa Carter, director of the SPCA. "We're having to think of drastic measures in order to stay afloat. It's pretty grim. Because of the economy, we're looking at having to rescue less. More and more people locally are being impacted by the economy."
Carter, who has been with the SPCA for six years, says she's never seen such a big drop in donations and such a demand for animal shelter services. The agency gives out cat and dog food each month to about 150 people who can't afford to feed their animals."