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Housing crisis takes toll on pet owners

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Posted at 5:15 AM, Jul 26, 2022

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — For a lot of homeowners, it's tough to even think about giving up your backyard in your home and transitioning to an apartment.

But even the thought of having to give away your furry friend could make you sick to your stomach.

While many apartments here in Florida are affordable and allow pets, there are limits.

The housing crisis has been tough on a lot of Floridians, leaving them with a tough decision regarding what many consider a part of their family.

And when researching apartments in the area, we found that many here in Florida are pet friendly, but many of them come with extra cost, and a two animal per-unit limit.

So the question remains, what do some homeowners have to do when they exceed that limit when they transition?

Unfortunately, a lot of those pets end up at places like the Cape Coral animal shelter.

For the past two years, Liz McCauley and her team have seen this growing problem.

But for the last six months, it's been disastrous.

"I think that we've seen that it's the worst that it's ever been," said McCauley. "I think it's the perfect storm right now."

Her team knows that's it's not always a pet owners first choice to give an animal up for adoption.

But a few things, are making this decision for them.

"You have the bad economy, You have people having to move to places where they aren't allowed to have pets or they aren't allowed to have a certain breed or a certain weight," said McCauley. "So they're having to give up animals that they've had for a long time. It's very sad."

There's also says that they're starting to see an uptick in abandonment over the last six months, which can coexist with a lot of the apartment and housing issues that we've been seeing.

"We are out of resources," said McCauley. "Every shelter is full. Every rescue is full. It's really disheartening."

But Liz and her team are doing what they can to help, by offering their services for their low-cost clinic.

"We have seen so many clients in our clinic that need our service because it is low cost," said McCauley. "It's overwhelming. We get 150 calls to 200 calls a day."

And many animal shelters are hoping this problem will have a solution soon.

Because many of them, don't know what they're going to do if this continues.