Pets are the latest victim of the economy

Pets are the latest victim of the economy

11-year-old Leisha needs a home


by Pat Dooris / KGW

Posted on November 16, 2011 at 5:05 PM

The latest victim of the brutal economy is pets, according to the manager of the Clackamas County Dog Shelter.

Workers there say it’s not unusual to find abandoned dogs at their front door in the morning.

Two weeks ago they found two crates holding seven greyhounds, including three puppies. The crates carried a note.

“The note said I’ve been unemployed for four years and I just can’t do this anymore. Please take care,” said Diana Hallmark, the shelter manager.

“Sad," she said with a sigh.

Hallmark noticed a change a year ago...more dogs were being dropped off each week than normal. The shelter can only hold 51 dogs but Saturday there were 57 here waiting for adoption. She blames the economy.

“Its very... it’s frustrating and heartbreaking all at the same time because you know they are families out there giving up their family member,” Hallmark said. “And they're doing it because they don’t know what else to do," she added.

It does not look like things will change any time soon.

“We're still flat,” said Tom Fuller from the Oregon Employment Department. “Unemployment's just not moving. We've gone down from last month but really we're going nowhere."

Oregon's unemployment rate for October was 9.5 percent. That’s basically unchanged from September when the rate was 9.6 percent.

Fuller says there are some jobs but competition is fierce.

“Thirteen thousand openings,” he said. “We've got 120,000 people collecting benefits. That’s where you start to understand there are a whole lot more people looking for work than there are jobs for them to get."

Justus Akwenuk knows the situation first hand. He has a degree in mechanical engineering but said he can't find work.

We met him at a job fair in north Portland. A solar company is hiring 100 people. Akwenuk and an estimated 800 others are applying for the jobs.

“Well it’s been really hard tough,” Akwenuk said. “Right now I go for even menial jobs, jobs that can at least pay minimum wages but it’s been really difficult you know? Finding a job at this difficult time. And we, you know, just have to keep looking. That's why I’m here today."

Everyone, it seems, looks forward to a time when the economy takes off again---and families can afford to keep man's best friend---at home.