People Shed Pets in Ruff Economy

A growing number of Americans are giving up their dogs and cats to animal shelters as the emotional bonds between people and pets get tested by economic ones.

New Yorker Erin Farrell-Talbot is among pet owners who -- reluctantly -- say rising economic anxieties have made it increasingly difficult to justify the expense of owning their pets.

She was told within days of losing her job that her 15-year-old cat, Buki, would need thousands of dollars in treatment and medications costing $65 a month to live. Farrell-Talbot says "it was horrible" to make the decision to euthanize him, but it came down to whether she was going to have to use a credit card for food or give medicine to the cat.

The American Pet Products Association says the average annual cost of owning a dog is about $1,400, and it's about $1,000 for a cat.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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